Monday, September 25, 2017

Like a hurricane

"Here I am
Rock you like a hurricane"
- "Rock you like a hurricane" by Scorpions

Differently-sized specimens of Cladorhiza gelida, the
carnivorous sponge, photographed using a dissecting microscope.
Friends, my first week back in Woods Hole was made significantly more exciting by the passage of hurricane José. My boyfriend actually started calling the hurricane "José Cuervo" because of its drunken, swerving path through the Atlantic. It parked off the coast of Nantucket for a good four days, giving us on the Cape the gifts of multi-directional wind and variable-severity rainfall for most of last week. To be honest, it wasn't quite as bad as I anticipated, but there was definitely rainwater getting thrown around from all directions.

I made sure to stay inside and work in the lab while José had his way with the outdoors. It was a good chance to start measuring the sponge and crinoid specimens I brought back from the Arctic. Yes, all my specimens made it safely home, so I've been busy at the microscope, measuring the lengths of the animals from the long-term settlement experiment and calculating how quickly they grow. I know the experiment was underwater for 18 years, but the individuals I found living on it were surprisingly small. I can try to estimate their growth rates and see how growth might be affected by altitude above the seafloor. (Remember, the largest sponge on the whole experiment was on the radar reflector, about 2 m above bottom.)

It's been a busy week of catching up, progressing forward, and trying to stay dry. I should have very interesting results from the specimen measurements. I'll keep you posted!

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