July 13, 2012
We just finished the last collection site of the cruise and are heading back to Alpena. The rumor on the ship is there will be a swim call when we reach Thunder Bay. The lesson of the day is Brandon’s story of the ship. The Guardian is welded, pinned and bolted together. Should a small crack appear in a weld seam and a small amount of water is taken on there might not be a great concern. However, at some point when the wrong weld, or a dozen bolts or a hundred pins are removed, the ship begins to sink; now there is a problem. Our ecosystems are like a ship. They are made up of hundred if not thousands of organisms. The loss of one or two may not create a serious problem. However, at some point the removal of one critical species or a larger group of organisms will cause the destruction of the ecosystem. The Great Lakes have shown themselves to be a very resilient set of ecosystems. They have withstood many different attacks by many different organisms. They have weathered the loss of dozens of native species. How do we know, however, if the next invasive or the next extinction will cause the ship to sink?
July 12, 2012
Today we woke up in the Georgian Bay for our study of two station on the north side of the border. The previous night we had collected Mysis and larval fishes from a location just inside the bay. This morning we collected another sample of larval fish at the same location. We identified a few burbot and a ton of rainbow smelt. While we were expecting to collect more larvae during the night tow, we actually found over twice as many during the day.
After we arrived at the second Georgian Bay station we got out the ship’s ROV and took it down to the bottom. After Marine Tech Johna got everything working, she gave any of us that wanted to an oportunity to fly it. Bo, Doug, Erin and Bobbi each took it for a spin. After getting used to the controls, they each were able to get it to do what they wanted it to (more or less). Doug even collected a few quagga mussles from a submerged log. Dr. Jude got excited when we scared up some gobies, too.
July 11, 2012
A small crew of us remained awake to make a midnight mysis collection. The winds were calm, the stars bright. The caffinated ones stayed in the lab until the wee hours of the morning until the last mysis was counted; the rest of us went to bed. A short night in bed, the 9:00 collection station came quickly this morning.
July 10, 2012
The third day dawned early with the washing of the pesky May flies at 5:45 am. The Zodiac was deployed shortly after to “abduct” three visiting dignitaries from Tawas, Michigan. Our abductees were David Lusch, Michigan State University; Jim Diana, Director of Michigan Sea Grant program; and Al Taylor, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. After breakfast David Lusch gave us a two hour lecture on the geological origins and history of the Great Lakes.
We then collected samples of algae, zooplankton, fish larvae, fish collection, as well as using gill nets to collect larger fish. We ate a delicious lunch and returned to our post on the stern of the ship to assist Al Taylor with his soil sample. The soil sample was taken using a tool called the spider core from the center of Saginaw Bay. We came inside the Lake Guardian to remove the stomachs from the fish to see what the fish have been eating.
After the appetizing dissection of several species of Lake Huron fish (White Suckers, Perch, Gobies, and Trout Perch), we then proceeded to the cafeteria to partake of some delicious fish. Then we enjoyed a lecture on “Doom and Gloom” by Dave Jude from the University of Michigan.
We ended our day with a general discussion on the impact of PCB’s and The Decline of Diporeia. For some of us the day is not over, they will do a midnight Mysis tow.
Hi MOM and DAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Pam Evans, Bobbi McConnell, and Regina Mueller
July 9, 2012
Wow! What a busy day! We have been hopping from test to test. We have gathered zooplankton, benthos, and fish larvae. Additionally, we tested water samples from different depths. Using a rosette (water sampling machine) is a new experience for all. Our students routinely conduct tests on water, however we were able to utilize sophisticated electronic equipment to gather our data. We administered pH, alkalinity, hardness, and turbidity tests. It is great to see how these tests are performed by the scientists. It provides us with better information to share with our students back in the classroom. - Marie
We continued our sampling all day. We worked at 4 different stations on Lake Huron finding water quality, fish larva, plankton, and benthic organisms. At the last station before dinner we gathered a gill net that was set in the morning. We caught 2 walleye and a sucker.
The afternoon we studied larval fish. Once we used the key we found that you can find what type of fish it is by looking at anus placement and the number of myomeres (muscle segments before and after the anus). Yes we looked at a lot of fish butts but it was great to be able to identify the fish.
Tonight we will be putting into port at Tawas for the evening before moving into Saginaw Bay in the morning.