Kilali – Blog 2
Blake Ambassador 2016/17 Blogs | NIWA AMBASSADOR 2016/17
December 5, 2016

After spending our first day coddled up in our bunk rooms cradling the toilet as we left Wellington in choppy swell, we’ve emerged the next day ready for action. We were greeted with a 5 star breakfast along with cheerful scientists who assured us calm seas were ahead. Our group was divided into 2 teams; the night and day time shifts that run from 12am-12pm. As the newest members on board we were put into the day time shift as it’s the easier shift to adjust to. Each day we camp out in the Hydro Dry Lab and conduct our DTIS (deep water towed imaging system) transects to record all of the biodiversity that we see in the 1 hour clip while moving at 0.6 knots. This is just slow enough to identify the environment and marine organisms.

When the transect is completed, the DTIS camera is pulled back onto the boat. From there we connect the attached CTD to a computer to download the environmental results that correspond with the transect (such as temperature, conductivity, depth, etc.). From this transect, we are able to tell whether or not the area we have explored is a sensitive habitat. Thus far, only one transect has been deemed as a ‘sensitive habitat,’ which essentially means that corals, sponges, and/or other organisms of interest make up at least 15% of the transect. The rest have mainly consisted of muddy sediment, mounds, animal tracks (such as urchins), and the occasional squat lobster. Aside from DTIS surveys and CTD information, we have also been taking sediment samples at every few sites using a Multicore device which has 4 tanks attached. The sediment from one tank is separated by centimetre intervals into little bags for sediment analysis, the two others are sieved to retrieve the macrofauna, and the final tank is saved for analysis of meiofauna (very small animals). We rotate the jobs to ensure that we are all familiar with the proper protocol.

Aside from our duties we spend most of our time outside enjoying the nice weather, eating restaurant standard food, hitting the gym, reading books, watching movies, and overall receiving some quality banter from our ship mates. Crocs and neon overalls are the latest fashion craze and ice cream seems to be the most popular snack. We’ve officially ditched our sea sick pills and are ready to embrace our new sailor personas. Until next time!

Kilali Gibson

Kilali Gibson

BLAKE NIWA Ambassador 2016