December 12, 2003
|Dr. Don Nuzzio, President of Analytical Instrument Systems, Inc., and Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Delaware College of Marine Studies|
Letise Houser, Shipboard Education Coordinator
Three “Phone Calls to the Deep” down, one to go. As usual, the call began at about 12:30 pm CST. This time it included only 11 schools, instead of the scheduled 12, due to a conflict with one of the schools. They will still get their chance during the final call (Dec. 16), in addition to the school that had to miss the December 5th call. Once again, Dr. Cary answered the questions from Atlantis, with the help of Anthony Tarantino (Alvin pilot). From Alvin, Bruce Strickrott (Alvin pilot), Irene Garcia, and Dr. Don Nuzzio provided answers to each school.
This opportunity was especially a treat for Don because he was celebrating his birthday today, so some of the kids sent him best wishes. As an additional way to celebrate, several of those aboard gathered in the Top Lab of Atlantis to sing “Happy Birthday” to him over the radio while he was 2,500 m deep. That has to be a unique way to recognize another year of life! They even arranged to have his wife patched via satellite as an added bonus. Be sure to read Don's journal below for more details.
After the phone call was completed, I found myself with some spare time, so I read through my e-mails and sent several responses. Before long, it was time for the 2:30 p.m. (1430) science meeting, which seemed especially short today. It was over by 3 p.m. (1500), leaving me with two more hours to kill before Alvin was due to resurface. I debated between taking a nap, working out, or watching a movie. Well, I felt rested, and to be honest, I didn’t have the motivation to exercise. So, can you guess? You’ve got it! I popped in a movie randomly selected from the video library on board. It was a somewhat dramatic comedy called “The Broken Hearts Club.” I had never heard of it, but I found it entertaining. It roused laughter and even tickled my tear ducts slightly. By the end of the movie, only 10 minutes remained before the recovery. Purpose served! So it was time to get to work.
Since Irene was completing her maiden dive in Alvin, she was due for an ice bath. Lined up with buckets to douse her were Tara, Colleen, and Joe, which was preceded by a hosing from Jerry (Able Bodied Seaman). Once she was nicely soaked, she was gracious enough to share the “love” with the three offenders — sopping, wet hugs all around! Frank is on deck next for his initiation; his first dive is tomorrow. Maybe then I will get the chance to make my “club membership” complete by taking part in the ceremonies and dumping a bucket of my own.
I got a few shots of the samples that were retrieved today, and then went to answer the dinner bell. Let me just skip to the dessert — chocolate chip cookies with pecans, again! My weakness! Of course everything else on the menu was great too, including mahi mahi fillets, lamb chops, garlic potatoes, rice pilaf, oven-roasted vegetables, and wheat rolls. Question: What did I have first? Answer: A chocolate chip cookie. Question: What did I have last? Answer: (see above). : ) Oh, there were also ice cream options, but that’s a mere “cherry on top.” Though we get wonderful treatment every time we step foot into the mess (dining area), I actually look forward to getting a grasp on my usual eating and exercise habits. But for now, I’ll have to bank on a youthful metabolism being in my favor… Satisfied, I went to work for a little while. I have gotten much more efficient getting everything ready for the Web site, so I cranked through most of the material. It was too early, however, to call my day over. Instead of writing my journal and wrapping things up, I decided to watch yet another movie. Two in one day! Watching movies is one of my favorite pastimes, so I consider this opportunity a treat. This time it was “The Crow,” which I had never seen in its entirety. I guess I would describe it as a thriller action. Now I can check that one off my list.
Ok, I will call the day done. My internal clock has reset itself, so it is still too early to go to sleep (only about 11:30 p.m.). I will probably stay up talking to whoever is still awake, while decorating some more souvenir cups to shrink in Alvin. That leads me to a quick question for you to ponder: Why do Styrofoam cups shrink when taken to the deep sea? Many of you know the answer, but I will try to explain in some detail tomorrow.
Dr. Don Nuzzio, President of Analytical Instrument Systems, Inc.,
and Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Delaware College of Marine Studies
Today was a great day for me, it was my birthday and I got to dive in Alvin again. This has been my seventh dive in Alvin since May of 1999. I woke early and ate a light breakfast prior to entering the sub at 7:45 a.m.
This day was also special because of the AIS DLK-SUB-III deployment known as the DLK INSECT (in situ electrochemical tool). We deployed this special instrument allowing the collection of electrochemical/ chemical data from a particular site on the ocean floor for several days. All of the electrochemical instruments used on this trip were made by my company, Analytical Instrument Systems, Inc. The electrodes are made in Dr. George Luther’s lab at the University of Delaware College of Marine Studies. We are placing this instrument at the TICA site at 9°N along the East Pacific Rise. This instrument will help us understand the biogeochemical relationship between the biology and chemistry around diffuse-flow areas, the places where a lot of the biology occurs. At the TICA site, we will be monitoring the temperature and chemistry of a clump of Riftia with four electrodes that look at the chemistry and two temperature probes to record any temperature fluxes the Riftia are experiencing. These probes were placed right at the top of their tubes (where the worm comes out). By doing this, we can measure the chemistry and temperature the Riftia tubeworms are experiencing over time. This will help us understand how the tubeworm lives and behaves due to the chemical makeup of the water around the top of the tubeworm's environment.
Once we had the instrument placed on the ocean floor near a patch of Riftia, we positioned the electrodes for measurement and continued our dive collecting Arizona State University experiments from the top of several active chimneys. We also collected a crab trap filled with a dozen crabs, which will be examined aboard ship.
From there, we proceeded to another vent site to collect samples and on the way passed Bio 9 vent near Marker 1, where I placed a memorial of my father, Benjamin Nuzzio (1921 to 1999), on December 1, 2003, dive #3942. My first Alvin dive was here at 9°N in May 1999, dive #3394. My father stayed alive several more weeks after I got home to hear about my trip and the Pacific Ocean. He would kid me about the green flash seen at certain times at sunset in the Pacific Ocean. My father loved the sea and was a radio operator aboard the USS Alabama and the USS Wisconsin during World War II. I know he would have loved this, and every time we come back to work here, we will visit Marker 1 at the Bio 9 site.
We continued our work at the bottom of the ocean and received phone calls from students around the country and Puerto Rico. The class in Puerto Rico even wished me a happy birthday. Later in the dive, Alvin was performing a communication check with Top Lab and over the intercom came Happy Birthday sung by a dozen of my colleagues led by my friend George Luther. After the singing, a very special call was received in Alvin by me from my wife Linda wishing me a happy birthday and safe trip — what a surprise!!
We finished our work on the bottom by collecting several Riftia samples, and then we headed to the surface. My dive partner was Irene Garcia, a graduate student from Harvard University working on sequencing the genome of the symbiont in clams. Our pilot was Bruce Strickrott, who is one of the more experienced Alvin pilots of the group.
Once Alvin was on deck, I got out of the sub first to hold Irene’s glasses and get her shoes because she was a first-timer and got the traditional initiation with several buckets full of ice water.
In all it was a great day, and I look forward to coming back to explore the deep and the strange chemistry and life that lives in this extreme environment.
|Copyright University of Delaware, November 2003|