As an artist in residence, (upon invitation from Jennifer Miksis-Olds, and Kristina Durocher, the curator at the Art Museum at UNH, where I have several large sculptures on exhibit) my role is somewhat unusual, to say the least. I’ve been incorporated into the scientific process on the ship, rather than being left to my own devices, which is what happens at most artist residencies.
This is the fourth ADEON cruise, and we’re slowly accumulating little habits and traditions among the science crew. These include things like the PIs bringing out special treats for after we finish up all the tasks at each site (it was Almond Joys and Mounds after the last one), and the epic night shift vs. day shift board game each cruise (to claim gloating rights until the next trip, of course).
My name is Brandyn Lucca; if you’ve been following our adventures at sea since 2017, you may recognize my name from the previous trips. But if not, I am a PhD student in Dr. Joseph Warren’s lab at Stony Brook University. I am particularly interested in improving the ways we monitor and count prey—like zooplankton such as myctophids, shrimp, and krill that are consumed by whales, and other predators—by using remote sensing techniques like underwater acoustics.
At 16:07 yesterday, we were leaned over the bow to watch a dozen bottlenose dolphins leap through the waves. They jumped and splashed around as they rode our bow, and I felt as if we were engaged in an interspecies race. We stand watch for marine mammals all day when we’re on station, and these dolphins have certainly been the star of the show. Meanwhile, we’ve been pulling up some other cool animals in unexpected places.
It is night three of our cruise on the RV Armstrong! As a member of this ship’s night watch, I am writing this dark and early at 3:00 am. Fortunately, it took surprisingly little time to adjust my sleep schedule to the night shift. This is probably a good thing because we have been hard at work the last few nights with zooplankton sampling, tows, and acoustic surveys.
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