Expedition member Lisa Wright helps load a small skiff heading
to Atol das Rocas for an all night session of baby lemon shark studies.
After experiencing engine problems immediately after embarking,
a small skiff returns to the SEWARD JOHNSON to replace a cracked spark plug.
Within minutes it was back at sea, making its way to Atol das Rocas.
Oceanographer Tark Alves stands on the main deck during
rough seas in order to direct the launch of the CTD. Often refered to as
"the backbone of oceanography," the instrument is able to capture water
samples in both shallow waters and at extreme depth.
CLICK HERE to learn more about @Sea correspondent, Mark Carroll.
CLICK HERE to find out more about the scienctific goals and methods of the research teams in Brazil. In the above photos by Tim Calver, volunteer researcher Marah Hardt (left) places a tagged baby lemon shark into pen during research in Bimini. Dr.Gruber (right) examines a juvenile Lemon shark. This shark is about to be fitted for a speed sensing transmitter and will be tracked by research volunteers.
DISPATCH 08: Trouble at the Corral
@Sea correspondent/photographer, Mark Carroll
1:15pm, March 18, offshore Atol das Rocas -- A crew of ten researchers left for the atoll this
afternoon, rain storms brewing once again (actually, I don't think they've
really stopped since yesterday). Gear for a long afternoon and night of
juvenile shark wrangling weighted the boats to their limits. Within minutes
of parting with the ship, the trouble-plagued skiffs vanished behind high
swells on their way to a small inlet within the atoll where the baby sharks
Over the next several days, the researchers plan to draw repeatedly from
this rich pool of genetic code. However, the plan is flexible. Given our
current situation, it has to be ...
The passages into the lagoon have become an issue of increasing concern for
the expedition, especially after today's rough seas that rocked the Research Vessel SEWARD
JOHNSON (RVSJ) and threw large breakers onto the atoll's shore. Earlier in the
day, several crew members tried to chart a course through a second, equally hazardous channel. However, they -- and the entire team, for that
matter -- met with resistance that went beyond swells and currents. The island's lone resident and guardian, Azalea, continues to impose strict limits on the expedition's access to the atoll. For more on Azalea, check out our DAY THREE coverage.
8:37pm, 5 miles off Atol das Rocas -- Led by Chief Oceanographer Tarcisio Alves, the remainder of the ship's crew headed for deeper seas to
continue the subsidiary studies started on Sunday.
Alves, a researcher from the Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz in
Brazil, studies the bottom of the ocean food chain like Gruber studies the
top. The countless microscopic creatures of the sea are his subjects --
diatoms and copepods -- the fundamental units of life that provide the living energy for everything else in the ocean. Only by studying the local ocean environment at its most basic level can the researchers hope to understand the lemon
shark's role as an apex predator.
The rough night seas sent waves washing over the main deck of the R/V SEWARD JOHNSON as Alves directed the massive CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth) instrument into the ocean (ironic that a device so large is used to capture organisms so small). After the CTD's
return from 350 feet below the surface, preliminary analysis and preservation of captured samples
began in the ship's wet lab.
9:14pm, returning to Atol das Rocas -- The landing party radioed the RVSJ as it headed back to its anchored position west of the atoll. They
had successfully captured and sampled 10 juvenile lemon sharks, but team
member Dan Cartamil had been bitten on the hand. Although his injury did
not warrant a risky nighttime rescue, the extent of the bite's damage will
not be known until tomorrow at first light, when the shore party can safely
leave the island.