The last two weeks have been very busy in the sorting lab. With the lab reorganized, we’re now ramping up sorting to get as many samples processed as possible before the next cruise in May. Space is at a premium, so all of the finished samples are being transferred into much smaller bottles for long term storage and the specimen vials are being organized into individual boxes by core. Everything is being condensed as much as possible to make space for the next set of cores.
To give you an idea of how much material one cruise represents for our lab, let me take you through a walkthrough of the 2012 cruise. The cruise had 2 legs, and lasted about 3 weeks. During that time 12 stations were fully sampled. Each station is sampled 3 times, and each sampling yields 4 cores. Let’s do some quick napkin math to get a rough tally of how much material that is:
12 stations X 3 samplings X 4 cores per sample =144 cores
Once we have those cores, they’re broken down by depth, with the 0-1 cm section being placed in a 1L bottle and the 1-5 cm and 5-10 cm sections being placed into 1.5L bottles. Let’s tally that up quick to get a total sample amount:
144 0-1 sections X 1L = 144 L
(144 1-5 sections + 144 5-10 sections) X 1.5L = 432 L
This gives us a final tally of 432 bottles containing 576 L of seawater and sediment. Now you know why we’re scrambling trying to make room before the next cruise!
Ben LaBelle, Florida State University