Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Patterns

Friends, the opening of this post may surprise you, since I last wrote about Rijpfjorden but am now back on land. The end of the cruise was short and sweet, and I spent most of my time analyzing data in the shipboard lab. My classmates and I have now made it back to Longyearbyen, but I suppose I should fill you in.

One of these things is not like the other one.
First of all, my settlement plates were all recovered successfully. I had plates at 3 different dive sites and on 2 different moorings, and I got them all back. The results are very interesting, because I could see clear patterns in the data before even counting the organisms. The figure at right is a prime example: these settlement plates are from the Rijpfjorden mooring. One set was deployed at ~20 m below the surface, and the other set was deployed at the seafloor (~195 m deep). One set of plates had exactly two species on it, and the other had exactly none. Can you guess which is which? By the time I finished analyzing all my settlement plates, I could have just thrown the plates into a pile, pulled out a random one, and told you just by looking at it what station and what depth it was from. The patterns were that clear. I haven't crunched any numbers, but I like my data already.

Now that I'm back in Longyearbyen and all my settlement plates are analyzed, I'll be spending time on my class. We have exams and reports coming up, and I'm also preparing a presentation on my settlement experiment. The presentation is a good chance to communicate my findings, and besides, my classmates should probably know what I was doing all those late nights on the ship.

I'll keep you updated on my data analysis and my adventures as they happen. Stay tuned!

Alcyonidium gelatinosum, a gelatinous bryozoan on my settlement plates.

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