By MSC ECE 2014/2015 STUDENT Amy Brittan ECE Callista Boat Work, 07/11/2014
The second field trip of the year for the ECE students tested out their sea legs as they spent the day on the RC Callista sailing up and down the River Itchen, River Test and Southampton Water. The boat work was part of their Key Skills and Applied Coastal Oceanography module whereby students had to produce a report based upon the fieldwork conducted and their chosen investigation. Prior to departing on the RC Callista the students provided the skipper with a detailed route map containing co-ordinates, indicating where they would like the boat to stop so they could deploy instruments to take measurements which were crucial for their report. Students came prepared for all weather conditions with waterproofs, scarfs, gloves and hats all being worn as they set sail at 9 am from the NOC. Each student was assigned a different role to play on the boat, including the principal investigator who liaised with the skipper and made sure everyone understood what was happening, the CTD logger, CTD deployment, ADCP logger, water sampling/filtering, grab sampler and a general logger. Communication was key between the students as they had to shout instructions to each other as when to record the data – you can imagine it was a rather noisy affair on board!! The first site was reached and the students got into position as the CTD with Niskin bottles was deployed. Measurements were taken at the surface, middle and bottom of the water column, where it recorded the salinity and temperature, and collected water samples that provided a vertical profile of the water column. The Van Veen Grab was deployed next which provided characteristics of the surface sediment at the bed. The ADCP was continuously run both in situ at each site and in transition between sites which provided profiles/transects of the velocity and turbidity.
Windy weather conditions meant that is was rather chilly out on deck so to keep spirits lifted in the cold conditions, large amounts of tea, coffee and biscuits were supplied. Despite this, the students became more efficient in deploying equipment and recording measurements at each site they went to, resulting in more data being collected than was originally thought. Dr. Charlie Thompson and two PhD students, Hachem and Clementine were on hand to help the students when required, with Dr. Charlie Thompson playing a very helpful role in identifying the different organisms found within the sediment samples. The day drew to an end and the students, who successfully managed to find their sea legs, sailed back to the NOC where over the next couple of days they analysed the data collected in the laboratory. Written by Amy Brittan