Sunday, June 22, 2014

Almost Done

Our recovered E1 Mooring
Platform (ADCP + MicroCAT).

What’s a field expedition without the instrument recovery, cleanup, and packing duties? During the past week, our group has been working meticulously to retrieve our sea-faring instruments and prepare them to be shipped back home. Kristen, Pat, and Tom made a heroic effort in diving down to the various mooring locations and searching for the often obscured and barnacle-laden instruments. To our luck, most of the equipment has been recovered. Some of our moorings were in locations susceptible to strong currents and wave action, and were likely moved and bumped around during the last few weeks. This made our dive team’s job of finding the moorings more difficult, but their diligence and experience prevailed.
All the nooks and crannies...
poor Tom!
Although our devices have only been in the ocean for what seems like a relatively short time span, we still found that upon recovery, our instruments were covered with a slimy layer of sea gunk: algae, barnacles, mollusks, and various autotrophic marine organisms that find shiny, white temperature and pressure loggers attractive. Cleaning off all of this deliciousness was simply a matter of scrubbing the devices with abrasive pads and water, though some of us had a much more daunting checklist of items to clean. Ultimately, everyone pitched in and the work basically took care of itself. Something we hardly take for granted is the foresight that the engineers who designed these instruments had when they were making these devices; plastic casings, titanium hardware, and stainless steel mountings offer fantastic corrosion-resistance.
Cleaning instruments: more fun
than it sounds like.
One of the more exciting moments of our trip came when we began uploading and viewing data from the instruments. Seeing firsthand the preliminary recordings of temperature, pressure, pH, oxygen, and currents, amongst other variables, that reflect the highly dynamic conditions, perhaps unique to Dongsha atoll and characteristic of a coral reef exposed to such large internal waves, made enduring a month of, well…interesting food worth it.
All of us are eager to begin a more rigorous analysis of our data to better understand and demonstrate how internal waves affect corals on Dongsha Atoll, however, we must first be good stewards of our equipment, and finish properly cleaning and packing them, so as to prolong their useful lives; after all, this stuff ain’t cheap!

-Aryan Safaie
Graduate Student,
Coastal Dynamics Lab, UCI


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