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Life aboard the Point Sur

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Written by: Matt Woodstock – DEEPEND graduate student, Nova Southeastern University

Hello, my name is Matt Woodstock and I am a graduate student at Nova Southeastern University working with the DEEPEND Consortium. This is my first time on a research cruise and I wanted to share a bit of my experience so far. Our ship, the R/V Point Sur, is equipped with all the supplies we need to do our science.
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Pictured here (Left to Right): Gray Lawson (Technician), Joe Lopez, Travis Richards, Laura Timm, Tracey Sutton, Jon Moore, and Rosanna Boyle


 My job aboard the ship is to help Travis Richards (PhD student at Texas A&M Galveston) pull tissue samples for genetic sequencing. An average day for us begins early in the morning, hauling nets in from the tow the night before. We sort through each sample, dividing the fishes, crustaceans, squids, and jellyfishes.

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Pictured here (Left to Right): Tammy Frank, Tracey Sutton, Mike Vecchione


After being identified by our experts, the animals are measured, weighed, and organized so they can be sent to different labs that study each species. We are currently freezing animals for stable isotope analysis, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) analysis, and parasite analysis (my thesis study).

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 A Red Velvet Whalefish, Barbourisia rufa, caught between 600-1000 m that was sampled for stable isotope and genetic sequencing

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Three Helmet Jellyfish, Periphylla periphylla, caught in an oblique tow (0-1500 m) is a deep-sea bioluminescent jellyfish

Other animals are persevered and sent to several different labs for later studies. We do this twice a day (day and night) and observe differences in the distribution of animals on a diurnal cycle. Occasionally we will take a break from our sample processing to see anything cool happening on the deck. This morning, we saw the sunrise.

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