Happy Tuesday from the middle of the Gulf where the temperature is hot, the water is like glass, and the sun is shining!
The past few days have been early mornings for all of us on the R.V. Point Sur. The nets come up around 3:30 -3:45 a.m. and the processing begins immediately and lasts between three to five hours! The scientists methodically sort out the specimens according to their specialty and the lab is flowing with scientific names! At first it was a bit overwhelming because I had no idea what all of the scientific names were (I was only familiar with the common names), but after a few days, multiple samples, and seeing the same organisms over and over, I’m beginning to recognize the various species.
We have been catching some pretty awesome fish, crustaceans, larva, cephalopods, and jellies. The colors of the animals are mostly black and deep red with many bioluminescent capabilities. The organisms are full of extraordinary photophores, tiny and complex light emitting organs, which allow them to emit bursts and pulses of light, whether it is for communication, mate attraction, or predator avoidance. Some of the photophores were still emitting light when we looked at them under the microscope! I will post some of those pictures tomorrow so stay tuned!
Below are pictures of some of the amazing critters we have been fortunate to observe. Some pictures I took and some were provided by our amazing photographer on board, Dante Fenolio.
The picture on the left is the cod end of the net where all the organisms are, and the picture on the right is an example of one net sample. Once it is poured into the container all of the scientists go through it and sort out the species they study.
Deep sea crustaceans! Deep sea squid, Abralia redfieldi
The picture on the left is of a female anglerfish! The females are the ones that have the lures, not the males. They typically use the lures to attract prey. The picture on the right is what happens when a styrofoam cup is submerged into the ocean 1500 meters! The pressure is so great that it crushes the cup to this minute size.
Tiny anemone larvae that we found in several of our samples today!
I will post more amazing pictures and information tomorrow! Thanks for following the teacher at sea blog!