Showing posts from July, 2021


Recently, I've found myself wondering a lot about how larvae get nutrition. I know, it's a common dilemma. Every person has at one point in their life sat on a park bench, gazed off at the shoreline, and wondered how they could best tell if a larva was planktotrophic or lecithotrophic. The experience is almost universal.  One of the larvae I collected for my  stable isotope test. There is a way to tell what organisms are eating - several very good ways, in fact. You can trace specific molecules that organisms have to acquire from their diet. Or you can look at the ratios of isotopes like carbon-13 to tell how high up in the food web your species is. There are a range of options ranging from the general to the specific - but rarely are they used on larvae.  Part of the reason might be that larvae are too small. You need a large amount of tissue for some of the specific analyses, which larvae just don't have. They're tiny. But for a general analysis using stable isotopes,

The polar night paper

Good morning and happy Friday! I'm excited to announce that today, my research is again appearing in print. This paper concerns larvae in the high Arctic during the winter, when it is dark 24 hours per day.  The story of this research starts back in 2017. WHOI had a cooperative agreement with the Ocean University of China , and I was invited to visit Qingdao with colleagues to establish collaborations. Four of us - two from WHOI, two from OUC - came up with the idea to study ecosystems in Svalbard during winter, and our proposal was funded. We traveled to the research station Ny-Ă…lesund in January 2020 and spent two weeks collecting samples in all sorts of conditions . While we were there,  strong winds  caused an upwelling event and changed the properties of the water in the fjord. We noticed significant differences  in the community of animals in the fjord after the upwelling. Our samples got held up in Norway when the covid-19 pandemic started, and I had to convince WHOI to

Diving in

Settlement on CATAIN's end cap I am back in the U.S. after a short break and diving right into research - literally. My camera system, CATAIN , waited below the WHOI pier for me to return from the Arctic. It was due for recovery this week, so I went for a dive. I was honestly a little nervous about CATAIN. We've had it underwater more or less for a year (two-month deployments separated by brief periods to charge batteries and download data). The camera didn't get much settlement in the winter months , and I was concerned I might have chosen a poor location to deploy it. Every time I checked on the camera, it looked the same - just a few snails, maybe a barnacle, and not much else. What if I was missing my prime opportunity to collect quality data?  Bryozoans on CATAIN Fear not, my friends. Today CATAIN was covered in growth. I was pretty relieved when we approached the camera underwater and saw all the bryozoans growing on the housing. This means the low settlement in wint

The cruise in pictures: part 2

I took this picture of Polarstern from the helicopter Alcyonidium sp., a gelatinous bryozoan, as biofouling on a mooring instrument My colleague, Melanie, collecting snow samples on Dropstone Island A bivalve ( Hiatella arctica ) covered in hydroids ( Obelia sp.?) One of the hydroids spawned in the lab! The scientific party for PS126

The cruise in pictures

Passing Bremerhaven's industrial overseas port Happy scientist! Polar bears! My grad student, Kharis, deep in concentration as she helps another team collect amphipods from a baited trap  Autonomous underwater vehicle PAUL (Polar Autonomous Underwater Laboratory) being deployed from Polarstern.  Photo by Kharis Schrage. Seen from Polarstern 's bridge