Science gets gritty…

…or muddy, or sandy, or really any sort of dirty if you’re lucky. By lucky, I mean that the multi-corer recovers usable cores for sampling. This sampling can include sectioning, profiling, squeezing, and pressing. Whatever you’re interested in, it’s a pretty safe bet that you won’t end up being clean.
The first few coring casts we did came up with great cores! All four tubes with sediment and the ever important sediment-water interface, and on the first try to boot! It would seem that our luck is on empty (pun intended), as many of our more recent casts have been unsuccessful for a variety of reasons. Yesterday the sediment was too soft and we had no interface; today the sediment was too sandy and we would lose the core on the way back to the surface.
Thankfully, with the help of good research techs and dedicated winch drivers, usable cores were taken from almost every site of interest. I spent most of yesterday (Monday) sampling sediment cores, and maybe part of it playing in them. I section at least two cores from each station for microbial community assessment and porosity. I am interested in identifying pollutant-resistance genes that I may be able to link to historical pollution data. I also squeezed a third from one station for porewater. I stripped the porewater for radon and saved it for nutrient analyses. As you can see, I did not end up clean- but that’s where the fun is. (Photos will be up soon.)

-Shelby LaBuhn

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