Home | Monitoring Great Lakes benthos from the R/V Lake Guardian 2013
Monitoring Great Lakes benthos from the R/V Lake Guardian 2013
In 2013, we received a grant to monitor Great Lakes Benthos aboard the EPA research vessel, the Lake Guardian. We joined a number of researchers from around the Great Lakes who monitor different parameters every year.
For this project, researchers spend about one month aboard the 180 R/V Lake Guardian. There are a number of rooms for bunking, a galley, and scientific labs on board. Research takes place 24 hours a day.
The first thing our researchers did was safety training. These survival suits are important if anything should happen to the boat. Safety first! Here are Susan Daniel, Josh Fisher, Alexander Karatayev, and Lyubov Burlakova.
Researchers collect water for multiple parameters, as well as using an instrument to measure physical parameters. This setup is called the rosette.
The rosette is deployed by a winch off the starboard side of the boat.
Josh Fisher on board the R/V Lake Guardian.
GLC researchers are monitoring the benthos, or the organisms living in the sediment at the bottom of the lake. Here is Josh collecting a ponar grab of benthos.
The sample of mud is put in a tub and the ponar is rinsed out.
A ponar sample of mud and benthic organisms. There are dreissenid mussels on the surface of the mud.
Next, the sample is put into the elutriator. We add water to the sample and rinse it through a mesh sleeve to remove most of the sediment while leaving the organisms behind to wash down into a bottle. Here, Sasha rinses the mud out of a ponar sample.
Susie Daniel on the R/V Lake Guardian. Susie is the main researcher in charge of sample collection and processing for this grant for the GLC.
The GLC collaborates on this grant with Cornell University. They are in charge of collecting zooplankton and analyzing chlorophyll levels in the water. We help each other collect our samples.
Research takes place 24 hours every day, so the work is split into 12 hour shifts, with one during the day and one at night. Susie (right) is working the overnight shift.
Susie (right) prepping sample bags and bottles in the lab area of the boat.
When working on the back deck, researchers must wear life jackets, hard hats, and steel-toed boots. People working at the elutriator usually wear rain pants too. Susie and some researchers from Cornell are ready to sample!
To move between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, the Lake Guardian goes through the Welland Canal in Ontario, Canada. Many shipping vessels move through this waterway.
Sasha Karatayev watches as the boat docks in Rochester, NY
One of many spectacular sunsets from the R/V Lake Guardian
After a month of collecting samples, we bring them back to the lab to process them.
Technicians or student workers pick through the sample to find the organisms so they can be counted and identified. Brianne Tulumello is picking a sample.
Graduate student Keith Pawlowski counting and measuring dreissenid mussels.
Quagga mussels from Lake Guardian samples
Susie Daniel is the chief taxonomist and identifies benthic organisms in the lab.