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Dispatch 6: Chemistry on the Louis

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Ida Martin

August 18-19, 2004

The author of this dispatch, Ida Martin
The author of this dispatch, Ida Martin, just finished her undergraduate studies in Environmental Science at University of British Columbia, and joined this cruise for adventure and to experience oceanography in the Arctic.
Janet Barwell-Clarke
Janet Barwell-Clarke organizing sample bottles for sampling.
Mary Steel
Mary Steel drawing water samples from the Rosette bottles.
Francoise Labonte
Francoise Labonte analyzing samples under the fume hood.
Linda White
Linda White operating the auto-analyzer for measuring nutrients.
The work begins for us chemists once the Rosette is back on board from her 3000m trip to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. Janet Barwell-Clarke, in charge of organizing the data, hands out carefully prepared labels for the various bottles. Mary Steel starts out around the rosette checking for leaks and preparing almost 30 bubble free bottles for oxygen analysis. No easy feat! Ida Martin is close on her heels ready to gather water for bacteria testing. Water used for nutrient, O18, and Barium analysis is taken next. Last but not least, the smallest member of our crew, Francoise Labonte, takes water by the large and heavy bucketful to be used for chlorophyll filtration.

Back in the lab, water samples in hand, the analysis continues. Linda White runs an interesting contraption which beeps often and loudly called a nutrient analyser. Mary's days are spent madly chasing bubbles out from the tubes and bottles used for analysing oxygen. Francoise is the filter queen. Tied to the schedule of the rosette cast she can often be seen bopping around at 4:30am filtering and dancing at the same time. Ida helps out where she can. She runs the chlorophyll through the fluorometer, prepares the Dissolved Organic Carbon samples and writes updates like this one.

Life is not all work, for us chemistry folk. Rosette casts are sometimes replaced with mooring work which allows us some time for a little play. The cribbage tournament is in full swing, photo taking is an ever popular pastime, chess is becoming quite competitive and every now and again a guitar can be heard. With rumours of a chemistry inspired bar night or dance on the horizon, life on the Louis is never dull.


Last updated: October 7, 2019

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