“Have I forgotten anything?” is a common question that runs through any traveller’s mind, and as a first time co-chief scientist it has been running through my head about every 10 minutes for the last three weeks. Not only do I need to remember to pack a toothbrush, but I’m in charge of all aspects for our deep-sea research cruise: pre-cruise setup, science underway, and post-cruise wrap up responsibilities.
Is there a manual for this type of job? Not really! Instead I’m relying on observations from past research cruises, and a reassuring nod from the other (far more experienced) co-chief scientist. I’m excited for this adventure and ready to earn the title of chief scientist!
So, what does a chief scientist do, anyway? Here’s some of the key tasks for pre-cruise setup (Note: this starts long before the cruise):
- Determine cruise objectives
- Complete the configuration and pre-cruise form for the ship
- Identify the science party participants
- Prepare the science party for the cruise: medical profiles, insurance forms, and confirmation of travel itineraries [we don’t want to leave anyone behind!]
- Identify the station location to achieve our cruise objectives
- Confirm with the ship the list of science objectives, such as MOCNESS* plankton tows, CTD* casts, and mooring retrieval
- Send all of our equipment and supplies to the ship and confirm that all equipment is on board
I’ll update the diary of a chief scientist while at sea, so stay tuned for more adventures of a first time co-chief sci!
*MOCNESS = Multiple Opening/Closing Net Environmental Sensing System
* CTD = Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth instrument