We recently completed another crucial time point (week 4) in our big 6 week experiment. WOO WHOOO!!! The end is near. All the live animals have been sorted and the rest of the samples preserved for later analysis. A huge plus for us is that none of our super critical science equipment that we transported down here has broken yet. Although when we first got down here and we were ramping up for the start of the big experiment we were running into problems right and left. In an attempt to remedy this situation we started a little incentive based encouragement aimed at our science equipment. We awarded “employee of the month” to our extruder, the only piece of equipment that was not giving us any issues.
The extruder is just a little device that allows us to sample and section the sediment into different layers from the surface on down. We made a little photo employee of the month sign and hung it next to the window in our lab and wouldn’t you know it all the equipment has been working beautifully ever since. Well another month has come and gone and it is time to select the next”employee of the month” less Murphy’s Law goes into full effect. This gives me an excellent opportunity to introduce a few of the other instruments we use to complete our science down here.
The first two clear front runners are the oxygen sensor and meter combo and the dissecting microscope with the digital Canon camera with the microscope eye piece attachment that allows Andrew to get all the super detailed close up shots and videos of the animals in the sediment.
The underdog in the science equipment race for employee of the month is our under water sediment core transport rack, which is really just a milk crate with a bunch divider ropes strung through it and carabiner for attaching it to the dive line. Always carefull not to offend we never call it a milk crate in front of others, and it also really ups our science cred around the dive tenders to give our home made items fancy names. The milk crate also doubles as a support rack in our respirometry table. The respirometry table is an aquarium tank with 1.8°C seawater flowing through it to keep the animals that live on and in the sediment at the same environmental conditions as where we found them. I have a soft spot for underdogs so my money is on the multitasking milkcrate.