China Research

Research Begins and Ends

On the 10th I was finally able to go collecting for my samples. Although I was supposed to collect 20, as this work is eventually for my senior thesis, I was sadly informed that I would only be able to collect 15, which half way through the cruise dropped to 13, and then to 11, I was however able to convince the captain to stop one more time so I could walk away with 12 samples. After collecting the samples were then placed into the freezer until the next day. I was also able to convince my lab of the need for 20 samples, and how I could not write a thesis with only 12 samples. After weeks of explaining this and telling them this is why I came to China, they finally understood that I did perhaps need 20 samples. I was unable to collect the remaining 8 samples myself, someone from my lab collected them for me since there was not enough room on the boat for another person and my lab did not want me to go alone. I then analyzed all of my samples using the same methods as in the beginning of the research using the Atomic Absorption spectrometer. For my zinc I used the flame and for the copper, cadmium, chromium and lead I used the furnace to analyze the concentration of the metals in the sediment. Before I could analyze them however I had to grind, sieve, weigh, and digest all of the 20 samples, and let them sit for two days. I did the first 12 together and then the last 8 together. The concentrations show good variation in the individual samples which means that conclusions can be made about why the concentrations are higher in certain areas, such as industry, or freshwater input. The original 12 samples are mostly marine or brackish in origin and they have lower concentrations overall compared to the last 8 which were collected in a man made lake, where mostly sewer and garbage are released. I am glad that I finally got to work on part of my thesis, although disappointed that overall I worked much less than Calvin and Lindley.