Sunday, January 4, 2015

Back to the field!

View from PICRC dock during a 
lunchtime break
We are back in Palau for our 2015 expedition! Tom and Pat just arrived in Palau, while Katie, Andrea, and Bill are arriving tomorrow night.

I think everyone is really excited about this trip because it is going to build very nicely upon the work that our lab has been doing in Palau for the past several years. With data that we will collect over the next six weeks here, we are piecing together how calcification rates on the reefs vary around the archipelago and how they change with time. This information helps us to understand how such rich and diverse coral communities can persist in naturally low-pH regions of Palau. Plus, we will make truly historic measurements with the first deployment of the Robotic Analyzer for Total CO2 System (RATS) on a coral reef.

Nevertheless, we have some chores to do before we can start the exciting science. Objective #1 was to unpack all of our equipment and organize our lab space at the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC). We shipped 50 boxes of gear from our last expedition in Taiwan, plus another 30 boxes from Woods Hole for this trip. Needless to say, this made for a full day. But there was some adventure to start the day: in Palau, people drive on the right side of the road, but the steering wheel is also on the right side of the car. That made for an exciting time driving our rental car through town. I totally have it down now.

Over the next few days, we will program and deploy a series of instruments on the reef that will track physical and biogeochemical processes occurring on the reef. Stay tuned for more!

- Tom DeCarlo