Monthly Archives: June 2016

UNOLS Training Cruise Update 1

Milwaukee Arrival

I arrived in Milwaukee and made my way to Ben Balcom’s, a Hampshire College friend, apartment. My super friendly cab driver agreed to pick me up again in the morning. After getting to Ben’s I figured out how to make my way by bus to the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University to check out Ben’s current exhibition. It was really fun to see his work, especially since it’s been about 8 years since I had seen his Div III project at Hampshire College!

After checking out the exhibit I wandered around the downtown area, walked around the public library for a bit which was beautiful, and made my way to a great lunch spot. Build-a-Burger filled me up with a delicious portabella mushroom sandwich and I was on my way. I had noticed an Urban Ecology Center on the map while I was figuring out how to make it to the museum and decided to check it out. I had a very nice walk along the Riverside Park trails, found the center before it closed, and got to check out their exhibit of native Wisconsin animals, tanks with various turtles, snakes, and fish. It was also really amazing to see so many people commuting around by bicycle. Milwaukee seems to have many bike lanes, as well as non-motorized vehicle paths, for bikes and pedestrians.

From the Urban Ecology Center, I made my way back “home” for a bit before meeting up with one of the other members of the science party on the cruise, Julia Gauglitz, who is a post-doc at WHOI. After meeting up at the Lakefront Brewery we wandered to a less rowdy restaurant nearby called Wolf Peach. It was a lovely restaurant with farm-to-table flare. Then I made my way home again to prepare for the cruise training the next day.

UNOLS Chief Scientist Training Day 1

I arrived at the Freshwater Sciences Building, a part of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Saturday morning to start the day of land training prior to our cruise. A woman from the UNOLS Office, as well as our training coordinator presented information about the UNOLS fleet, equipment and cruise planning process. I got a lot of useful information out of the presentations in the morning and afternoon, and then we got to take our first tour of the R/V Blue Heron and start moving onboard and mobilizing for our departure. We ended the day with dinner at the Milwaukee Ale House.

Day 2

We spent the morning mobilizing for cruise, tying equipment down, and getting all of our research equipment set up. At noon we headed out of port and are in transit to our first research station. We should reach our station by about midnight tonight.

Day 3

The first two stations went well. At station 1 we sampled the water column, acoustics, and sediments at the deepest point in Lake Michigan. I successfully sampled with a multi-corer for the first time! We deployed the multi-corer and got three really good, intact, cores. From there I spent ~7 hours extruding the samples. This entails pushing the core up from the bottom, like a push-pop ice cream treat made of mud, 1cm at a time; collecting that layer of the core, and then freezing them for later analyses. The three cores were all extruded in time for breakfast, and then I took a good nap. We reached station 2 about 16:00. At this station the science party collected water column samples and took acoustic measurements. We’re now steaming up river between Lake Michigan and Lake Superior and should reach the lock around 02:15. Should be pretty cool, I’ve never been through and operational lock before!

(I will post pictures once I’m back on land with a stronger internet connection!)

A Great Lakes Adventure

I was recently accepted to a UNOLS Chief Scientist Training program on the Great Lakes. We’ll be on board the R/V Blue Heron, and our transit will take us from Milwaukee, WI to Duluth, MN. That’s approximately 800 miles in 4 days! This doesn’t leave much time for sampling, but we’ll make the best use of the time we have. My focus for this research cruise is to investigate sulfate-reducing bacteria, as well as bacteria that mediate mercury-methylation, in sediments in both Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. My colleagues on this cruise will investigate a number of interesting topics, including: greenhouse gas flux from surface waters, acoustic pollution, and cyanobacteria populations and dynamics. Stay tuned for pictures and details when the cruise commences on June 26, 2016!


Approximate Cruise Track in Red (Google Earth)