Sunday, June 2, 2013

Back in the water!

I was able to start the weekend by enjoying the glorious weather we had on Friday (sunny and 27C even on the coast!!) by slipping under the waves into the silent underwater world.
I was training a couple of new students in the lab to count and measure eelgrass. Both had never done it before so it was a great new experience for them and gave them a taste of what it to come with this summer's field work in July and August.
The big white things on their arms are the slates with the underwater paper and a small pencil attached. These armbands are extremely convenient since they stay out of the way but close at hand for recording data and you are less likely to lose it! Writing underwater with huge mitts on is very challenging. Although the most challenging part sometimes can be reading it when your are back on the surface!

Recreational and Scientific diving are VERY different. Usually you have your hands full of stuff, catch bags with the various tools, armbands, quadrats (see next photo) and anything else you might need to collect your samples/data. So getting used to controlling your buoyancy while handling all these tools requires practice and this is why we had a practice day and we will have at least one more before the official sampling begins!

The quadrat is a marine ecologists' most used tools. It is a 3 sided square of a specific size that you use to delineate and standardize your sampling area. It is always helpful to have it in bright colours not typically found underwater so that you can easily see it. This one is in white and red electrical tape to contrast with the eelgrass and the bottom. The white areas also delineate a smaller area that can be used to collect subsamples if needed. It is a very simple but essential piece of sampling equipment. The two divers above were counting and measuring the eelgrass plants in the white subset. We are planning a lot of field work this summer. I will be sure to take a lot of pictures of us working and the various tools we use to do our work!!

We also got to test our newly repaired research vessel! It worked beautifully and is ready for another season of research. This vessel has a long history with me and I am preparing a post about it.

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!


  1. Haven't been here in a while Alli.

    Congratulations on your convocation, your pictures mesmerizing as usual.

    I've just started blogging again after a few rough years. I also started another blog "". Hope you'll come visit.


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