Wednesday, October 24, 2012

We're on a boat!

Stuck on a boat in the California Current for one month is one way to
promote LTER graduate student collaboration
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be on a boat for a month straight with no land in sight, no cell phone service, slow internet, and 30 other people you have never met before? Well the graduate students studying in the California Current Ecosystem (CCE) experience this almost every summer. As part of the CCE- LTER program, students, faculty, technicians and post-docs join together every summer to do joint field work aboard one of the vessels housed at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California. Students are studying everything from physical mixing properties, to deep sea fish aggregations; all at large oceanic fronts (where two different water masses come together) just off the coast of Southern California.

While out at sea, sampling operations are going on around the clock, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.  This is because ship time is expensive, and the researchers at CCE-LTER want to make the most of their time in the field. This sounds wonderfully efficient of us- but it can lead to over ambitious amounts of work and some tired and cranky scientists. The work is hard and it is long hours, but everyone pitches in to help each other. And by helping each other, you get to learn about other students’ research. And in the middle of the night, while you are filtering water and chatting with your fellow graduate student in near sleeplessness delirium, you just might learn something. You may even find out here on the big Pacific Ocean, that a potential collaborator was just down the hall from you all along. 

Contributed by 
Randie Bundy (CCE- California Current Ecosystem)
Graduate Student
Scripps Institution of Oceanography




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