Day 2, Monday, July 9, 17:56 p.m.

July 9, 2012

Wow! What a busy day! We have been hopping from test to test. We have gathered zooplankton, benthos, and fish larvae. Additionally, we tested water samples from different depths. Using a rosette (water sampling machine) is a new experience for all. Our students routinely conduct tests on water, however we were able to utilize sophisticated electronic equipment to gather our data. We administered pH, alkalinity, hardness, and turbidity tests. It is great to see how these tests are performed by the scientists. It provides us with better information to share with our students back in the classroom. - Marie
We continued our sampling all day. We worked at 4 different stations on Lake Huron finding water quality, fish larva, plankton, and benthic organisms. At the last station before dinner we gathered a gill net that was set in the morning. We caught 2 walleye and a sucker.

Huron Walleyes

The afternoon we studied larval fish. Once we used the key we found that you can find what type of fish it is by looking at anus placement and the number of myomeres (muscle segments before and after the anus). Yes we looked at a lot of fish butts but it was great to be able to identify the fish.
Tonight we will be putting into port at Tawas for the evening before moving into Saginaw Bay in the morning.

Day 1 - Our First Attempt at Collecting Specimen

A few brave volunteers offered to be among the first to particpate in the specimen collection scheduled to occur at 1 am. As we raided the galley, consumed much needed caffeine, we received some good news: we arrived at the scheduled station a few hours early. Our task was to collect 4 different types of organisms: zooplankton, Mysis, Larval Fish, and Benthos. The scientists on board need to collect at this odd hour because the Mysis is very sensitive to light.

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We began collecting larval fish at 40 meters. We completed a step interval trawl, which is where we started at a depth of 40 meters and after two minutes, we reduced the depth of the plankton net by 8 meters. We continued to do this for 4 more intervals and collected the specimen. We promptly took the larval fish to the Bio lab to place them in vials filled with alcohol. The alcohol kills the organisms (which aids in identification) and preserves them.

Amidst the darkened aft, we collected two samples of Mysis . At this scheduled station, we also collected Benthos, Zooplankton and Larval fish.

Earlier we were inundated with a large amount of biological information. We learned that the Benthos refers to the bottom dwelling organisms, Zooplankton are miniscule invertibrate organisms, and how to identify larval fish based on anal position (it is WAY more scientific than it sounds!)

As we collected the organisms from the benthic zone, we used a PONAR sampler, which drops down to the lake bed, gathers sediment (much like a toy crane) and brings it to the surface. Then we deposited the sediment into the “critter catcher” and put it into the sample bottle to transport to the lab.

And now it is 1:20 am, and we are very tired… time to get some shut eye. Breakast is served at 8:00 am. Next stop: the coast near Tawas, MI2012-07-08_23-05-47_350.jpg

Written by: Jess, Stephanie, and Angela

RV Lake Guardian Lake Huron 2012 Day 1

July 8, 2012

July 8, 2012 Shipboard and Shoreline Science

The crew of teachers from the Great Lakes Basin has assembled on the RV Lake Guardian for the Shipboard and Shoreline Science Cruise. We were helped to our rooms and were given our berthing assignments, and stowed our gear. Then, the fourteen of us met at the NOAA Marine Maritime Museum for the cruise logistics and briefings on walleye and invasive species of Lake Huron. Those DNR guys really know their stuff!! The cooks filled us with deliciousness. After dinner, we received a safety review and donned the ever-so memorable Gumby suits (pictured). Precisely at 19:00 we started backing out of the Alpena Harbor.

As we are on our adventure, we will continue blogging and would welcome feedback and questions, especially from any of our students who may be following our journey!

Gumby Suits

Reflections on a Mid-summer Night’s Dream

July 29, 2011

So here it is, Friday morning, and I just finished my laundry. I was busy matching socks, when I went to the galley and realized that Jared and Lisa were nowhere to be found and I must have missed breakfast. All I could find was a half-empty bag of Ginger Snaps. I shook away the morning fog as I realized I needed to move forward on solid ground.

I called a couple of my shipmates and we wanted to share some of our reflections on this past week’s journey. Since departing the Guardian on Wednesday, we are struck by how our perception of everyday things has changed. We find ourselves seeing the world through a different lens, and not just because of the patch. Here are some of the anecdotes we shared:
• Going down the ladder into the lake and questioning the kind of algae my feet were slipping on
• Sitting out on the boat, considering flow rate and water quality
• Cleaning the dog pool, and wondering what kind of algae was growing on the side
• Looking at the koi in the pond and wondering what they really wanted to eat
• Listening to NPR and questioning the research methods and data analysis used by the scientist being interviewed

We each have found a strong desire to stay connected to the water and have developed a different kind of appreciation for the chemical, biological, and physical processes that are occurring there.
This trip has truly fostered an appreciation and understanding of scientists as colleagues and resources. As we write this, concerns about our nation’s economic health continue to escalate. We hope that programs like this can continue to exist and that the important research carried out by scientists like ours continues to have sources of funding.

So as the Guardian reaches port today in Milwaukee, the wheels continue to turn as we revisit and process information learned on the trip, look for ways to implement this in our classroom, and find ways to stay connected to our shipmates.

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Sweet Mother Michigan, Father Superior
Coming down from Mackinaw and Sault Ste. Marie
Blue water Huron
Rolls down to Lake Erie-o, falls into Ontario
And runs out to sea

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Now it’s stuck in your head too!

Sandy, Cindy, and Lynn

Bon Voyage Lake Guardian 2011

July 27, 2011

After an evening of celebrating our research, learning, and community building we retired to our final night on the RV Lake Guardian. An early morning wake up call and a bit of rain hustled us along as we packed up our bags. From power cords and flash drives to microscopes and tucker trawls, we hauled everything off the boat as we made our final trip across the gang plank. Promptly at 9AM, the Lake Guardian departed with Captain Bob at the helm as they set off for Lake Michigan. The teachers and researchers cheered and applauded the crew for a spectacular trip.

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The presentations of research projects took place at the Great Lakes Aquarium. We amazed ourselves by how much we had learned, and our ability to explain our results to our colleagues and scientists. Our projects reinforced the idea that science is about the process; it may not always support the expected outcomes. We learned that nearshore and offshore systems of Lake Superior are very complex. We definitely need to do more research, maybe next summer (hint, hint)?

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Experiences such as these are often very powerful. It is amazing how we grew not only in science, but even more so as a very close knit group. Many feel as if we have developed life long friendships as we became more and more of a family throughout the week. We learned so much about each other and enjoyed sharing many aspects of our lives with each other. So hats off to thd COSSEE Lake Guardian Workshop 2011 and our very best to each of us on our journeys. We know we will find ways to keep in touch.

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