Blog Posts Tagged "Expedition 336"
Let me introduce myself. My name is Jennifer Magnusson and I will be your onboard education officer for Expedition 336: Mid-Atlantic Ridge Microbiology. (Sounds kind of like a job on “The Love Boat,” doesn’t it?) I am excited to share my experiences during this expedition, and I hope that you’ll follow along from your classroom, lab, or armchair. Here’s the story of how I got here:
What’s the one thing you would want to have with you if you were stranded on a desert island? How do you live without the rest?
Before this trip, I had been to Barbados once before, when I met the R/V Knorr here for a cruise in 1996. That time, I saw only the airport, hotel, and dock. I have always regretted the missed opportunity, and this time I was determined to see more of the island. I went to Bridgetown and found a local cab driver named Garfield, who showed me around and taught me a little bit about his beautiful island. Here's what I learned:
When we left port, there was sort of a “hurry up and wait” atmosphere about the ship. This expedition has been many months—years, really—in the making, so once everyone was finally onboard they were ready to get working! Unfortunately, there was a four-day transit to the study site to ride out before the real operations would get underway.
I am not a very handy or mechanical person. When my car breaks, I take it to the mechanic, leave it there for a day, and pick it up in the afternoon all fixed. When my dishwasher broke, I bought a new one. When you’re onboard a ship in the middle of the ocean and something breaks, you’re only option is to fix it yourself.
Tomorrow (September 23, 2011) is the September equinox (also referred to as autumnal in the northern hemisphere)—the moment in time when the sun crosses the equator and heads southward along its path. At this moment, which officially occurs at 9:04 am Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the Earth’s axis is perpendicular to the line connecting the centers of the earth and sun. On this day, it is possible to calculate one’s latitude by determining the angle of the shadow cast by the midday sun.
So, the equinox activity didn’t turn out quite as I would have expected, but it was fun to be outside on the top deck in the sun and the wind, so I’d say it was a success!
Microbiologists study microbes, which is why they are not called giganticbiologists. Microbes are living things that can only be seen with a microscope. We usually think of microbes as being germs, but only a teeny, tiny percentage of microbes make people sick. Most of them are completely harmless to people and some we could not live without!