Northern Gulf of Mexico Shelfwide Hypoxia Cruise

Two weeks ago, I was able to take part in the 6 day Northern Gulf of Mexico research cruise. This is its 31st year that it is going on and our third year taking part in it (see 1, 2). This year I was the lucky one to go instead of Dr. Thrash. This was my first official collection cruise so I was pretty excited to finally get out on a boat and put into practice everything I had learned while at the CMORE summer course.

Once again, our lab was working with Dr. Olivia Mason from Florida State University and her graduate student Lauren Gillies (@GilliesLE), who recently published a paper with Dr. Thrash from the 2013 research cruise: Archaeal enrichment in the hypoxic zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Congrats to them!

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Prepping the lab before the cruise starts

Though for the most part the set up and collection was the same as past years, this year I added a little twist to the game: Culturing.

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Our set up with the clean hood added for me to culture!

The cruise was a lot of fun and as usual I learned a ton about the Northern Gulf of Mexico and hypoxia. The main focus of the rest of the cruise was determining the size and nature of the 2015 “dead zone”. Dr. Rabalais (LUMCON) and her team worked countless hours to make sure all the data was collected and ready to be sent to NOAA, the EPA, and the public. This year we found that the dead zone was larger then scientists had predicted. This year’s dead zone extended over more than 6,400 square miles.

2015_SW_Stations_2015-08-03_ALL
A map depicting the stations sampled, as created by Leslie Smith and Dr. Nancy Rabalais (LUMCON) http://www.gulfhypoxia.net/Research/Shelfwide%20Cruises/2015/
2015_SW_BDO_2015-08-03_ALL_v3
A map depicting the hypoxia measured in the nGOM, as created by Leslie Smith and Dr. Nancy Rabalais (LUMCON) http://www.gulfhypoxia.net/Research/Shelfwide%20Cruises/2015/

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2015/080415-gulf-of-mexico-dead-zone-above-average.html

http://www.gulfhypoxia.net/

A few more pictures of me with some of the awesome graduate researchers (Mary Kate Rogener (@mkrogener) from Dr. Samantha Joye’s lab (UGA)) and Post Doc Ari Chelsky (Brian Roberts, LUMCON) also on board the RV Pelican.

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Sunset behind the RV Pelican
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Heading back to port at LUMCON in Cocodrie, LA
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Mary Kate working in her temporary anaerobic space
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Sometimes when you filter three depths in the Hypoxic waters you get three colors.
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Past years have been flat, this year we got some storms which was fun!
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Getting our sampling in before a squall moved through! It was blowing like stink out there but Lauren didn’t care
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Working in the hood to culture some microorganisms…Thanks for the picture Mary Kate
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Obligatory selfie
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The infamous C6C platform

2015-08-03 07.04.03 2015-07-31 19.56.21 2015-07-28 20.12.55 2015-07-28 19.59.40 2015-07-28 19.51.37

Keep an eye out for more publications from the Mason and Thrash groups on this exciting research area!
Cheers,

MWH

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