I’m Jake, a masters student from Nova South Eastern University’s Halmos College of Natural Science and Oceanography. I am studying ichthyology in the Ocean Ecology Laboratory run by Dr. Tracey Sutton. As a member of Dr. Sutton’s lab, I get to work on projects like DEEPEND (http://www.deependconsortium.org/) and DEEP SEARCH (https://www.nopp.org/projects/deep-search/), a collaborative project with UNH and the ADEON project.  When offered the opportunity to join this year's cruise to help with fish identification, I was admittedly apprehensive about accepting. The offer came two weeks after getting access to my campus and one week before classes. The idea of missing class and work to be surrounded by strangers on a boat for three weeks right when I had just gotten settled in was slightly off-putting. Less than a week into our cruise, I can confidently say I was wrong for being apprehensive, and here are the reasons why.

First: The science party.

The ADEON team is not only good at what they do, they are also incredible company. A few days ago, everybody here were strangers to me, and now it feels like I'm surrounded by longtime friends. Even if the seas were bad and operations weren't running, the people I am surrounded by would make it worth being here. From working on deck and sample processing, to playing cards while in transit, there is a strong feeling of comradery and excitement.

science team
The night’s watch (shift from 6pm to 6am) take their posts as they wait for the Isaacs-Kidd Midwater Trawl to come back to the surface full of cool critters. Photo Credit: Jacob B. Norry.


Second: There is no-where else you can see this much in one place.

On the deck, you can see porpoises, sea birds, giant ocean sunfish, turtles, and stunning sunsets. The screens in the main lab display real-time acoustic data, headings, charts, the camera view of the on-deck operations, and a team of devoted people making all of that possible. In the wet lab, there are animals from bioluminescent invertebrates and dragonfish, to small plankton and jellyfish. No matter where you are on the ship, there is something worth taking time to be part of or look at.

gonostomatidae fish
This is a photo of an elongated bristlemouth fish (Sigmops elongatus) that we collected our first night of sampling. Credit: Jacob B. Norry.


Third: The education

I have absorbed a semester's worth of knowledge in less than a week just by being present and observing. This experience, combined with the hands-on training I have received, goes beyond what any classroom can offer.

I wish this cruise was longer than three weeks, and I have only been here for less than a week. I now see why my friends and colleagues jump at the chance to go on a research cruise. Going on this cruise is a life-changing experience I will never forget. I am thankful for the opportunity Jen and Joe gave me to accompany the ADEON team.

2019 ADEON resident fish guy, Jake.