Hello to everyone out there. I know it has been a while since I have written a journal entry, but I am still doing fine down here.
This past week, we had our weekly science lecture take on a little different form. Instead of everyone gathering in the lounge to listen to someone give a slide show on their current or recent research, we all gathered for an “open house” in the labs.
By doing this, we were able to let the personnel on station understand a little more fully what we are doing down here. Each person in our group took up a location somewhere around the lab area and discussed what they were doing to anyone who came by.
The first stop for everyone was one of the environmental rooms in the aquarium building. There are two rooms here at Palmer Station that we are able to set a certain temperature in (usually 1°C). This is good for an experiment where temperature needs to remain constant. Maggie wanted to show everyone the krill’s ability to flash a blue light. Unfortunately, the krill had been in a high light environment for a little too long, and these krill did not perform on command like we had hoped they would. So, everyone piled back out of the environmental room and went to other “stations” where our group had people waiting.
Several people went to see Jim and his trusty echinoderms first. He had several representative individuals from different classes of echinoderms. The station personnel were able to see these creatures up close and touch them as well.
Maggie was positioned by the large tank filled with krill due to her much more extensive knowledge on these creatures than everyone else here on station. Everyone was able to see the krill swim about and scrape debris from the side of the tank trying to feed as well.
I was stationed over by the tourist tanks and got to show some of the people all the creatures that Maggie talked about in her journal entry from a couple weeks ago. A couple people pointed at creatures in the tank and asked what they were. I was able to use my limited knowledge on some of the creatures to answer their questions. I pulled out a few nudibranchs to let them see and feel what they were like. After they had their questions answered, they moved back into the warm lab area to find another person to learn from.
Dan was located near the microscopes in Lab 5. He had some sponge spicules on the microscopes to see what the framework of a sponge looks like. Everyone seemed to enjoy being able to actually look through the microscope and see what makes up the creatures down here.
Hla was in Lab 7 waiting to show everyone her chemistry “toys” that she uses all the time. She explained how she used different machines and devices to figure out what molecules were present in different organisms.
In Lab 8, Anne was working on her phlorotannin standards when everyone came by. The first thing that was noticed is that the lights were off. The materials Anne works with degrade in the presence of light, so her work must be done with as little light present as possible.
By the end of the night, we were pleased to know that everyone here at Palmer Station knew a little more about what we were doing down in the labs all the time.