29 November 2004

Today was another day of diving with one special treat. Sir Edmund Hillary took a tour of the Crary Lab and we got to meet him. He seems to be a good natured chap and was interested in what we were doing or at least enjoyed hearing about it. He is followed around with quite the entourage who are at his beck and call, probably because he is near 85 years old and has a visiting schedule that would put a twenty year old to bed early.

Stacy picked up our time laps camera off the seafloor which was staring at the sewage outfall. It becomes apparent that even though the sewage treatment plant has been operational for two years now that sewage is still being discharged during peak times of the day. The better news is that the time lapse camera worked and didn’t explode (yet….) The picture on top is when the treatment is working and on bottom when it is spewing floculant material from the settleing tanks at the plant out.

Jenn and Kathy did the incredible and found sediment at a location where it is scare, Cape Armitage. For the past thirty years people have sampled the sediment at Cape Armitage but it is always elusive and our first dive there yielded nothing but spicule mat. Spicule mat is the remains of thousands of years of sponges which have died and left their siliceous spicules (the very small silicone based skeletal structural components.) It is very dense and different animals live in that compared to soft sediment so comparing a spicule mat community this year to a soft sediment community from the past thirty years is a not a valid comparison. Thankfully they searched out the sediment and ended with samples that are comparable. The Data Set Continues!

In the afternoon, Mike, Bob, and I went in at Dayton’s wall. Bob and Mike were taking pictures of old experiments and I collected sponges for a project that I am working on. The project looks at if there is a measurable difference in the abundance of bacteria in the water that sponges filter. Although this sounds fancy, all I have to do is put the sponges in a bucket with running seawater. After the sponges get acclimatized to their new surroundings, I cut off the water and measure the abundance of bacteria in the water in the buckets at different times. To count the bacteria I will filter them onto a very fine filter, stain the bacteria with a dye that changes the color of certain wave lengths of light, and count them under 1000x magnification. Since the dye is not available here (due to my lack of planning) I have to wait until returning to Moss Landing to filter and dye them.

Dinner tasted very good after what seemed to be a very long day and bed is calling even though it is only 8:00pm. We shall see what the night entails since something always seems to make the time fly from 8:00 until 11 when bed calls loud enough that we listen if the work is done.


Lets see the next day!