Some of the DIAPOD team have been banished to the cold lab, an old walk-in fridge turned scientific laboratory. By banished, I mean we voluntarily trap ourselves in there for the sake of science. I am running grazing experiments with copepods. This will tell us what they’re eating, and how much of it. It involves keeping the copepods in bottles with water containing phytoplankton taken from the CTD rosette.
I have to keep them at a realistic temperature, so it means all of my copepod work is done in the cold lab at about 0-1oC. When picking out the copepods I will use for my experiments, I have to gently catch them on a mesh and check them under a microscope to find the right species at the right life stage, and this would cause them a lot of stress if it were room temperature. They’re quickly put in bottles and onto a plankton wheel to stop anything settling to the bottom of the bottle.
Some of the team are picking copepods for metabolomics – the study of the metabolome, hopefully telling us what compounds the copepods are using. This also needs to be done in the cold, and as quickly as possible, so the animals are frozen at -80oC in as natural a state as possible.
All of this copepod picking means we use a lot of buckets. The cold lab is normally swamped in labelled white buckets filled with weird jellylike creatures, and we have to lash them down so they can’t move if the ship does. I will never look at a bucket again without feeling cold and hearing the chiller unit.
Holly Jenkins, PhD student, SPITFIRE DTP & Changing Arctic Ocean (NERC) andUK Polar Network committee