SOCS Team 69

Sorting samples

Work on the Alibi continues.  The days are long and the work is hard, but I am enjoying it.  I am working with a civil engineer, a soil scientist, an environmental scientist, and a marine biologist; its really interesting to see the oil spill incident from different perspectives and learn about how each branch of science is monitoring and characterizing the extent of the affects on the Gulf.

In a nutshell, what we are doing is deploying Sentinels, contraptions we put together that have  'pom poms' on them.  They literally look like cheer-leading pom poms and are made of a synthetic fiber that the oil adheres to.  We deploy the sentinels, let them soak for 24 hours, and then retrieve and examine them for traces of oil.  Some of the oil is visible, but after being treated with dispersants, much of the oil has been reduced to minute amounts undetectable to the naked eye.  We have a special box with a UV light in it that we examine the pom poms under. When placed under the light, oil fluoresces a bright orange and we are able to detect its presence.  If oil is found, the sample team collects water and sediment samples which will be later examined in a lab. 

Here are some pictures from deck...

The Alibi

Dave, our deckhand, with a double catch of hardhead catfish

Some of the crew on our lunch break

Stern shot

Me with a cabbagehead jellyfish