China Research

Walking The Plank!!!!

Well let’s just say that this week everything has changed. Basically the second I made last weeks post my research in Xiamen began in full force. Since then I have worked at least twelve hours a day (Including the WEEKEND!!!) in order to complete the analysis of fifteen samples from an arctic research cruise that took place in 2008. Its not that the work itself is terribly difficult it is just that it is extremely time consuming to say the least. The average sample takes three days to analyze from start to finish and the most samples we can run at a given time is four. This sample time also does not include the time that is necessary to clean and prepare all the equipment to run the next set of samples. So as you can see this is extremely time consuming work. That being said all fun and china exploration has not been lost.

Yesterday professor Chen set us up to go on a research cruise with undergraduate Marine Biology students from XMU. We had to be ready to go at seven in the morning but given that I had been cooped up in the lab for the past week I jumped at the opportunity to be outside and see how field work is done in China. The experience was quite amazing. To begin when we get to the port where the boat is docked we see that boats are docked together three deep and we soon learned that our boat was the third boat from the dock. To make matters worse in China safety regulations can be non-existent so of course to get onto the first boat we had to walk a 6 ft X 1ft plank with a nice 25 foot drop if you fell off. On top of that getting over to our boat involved jumping over a series of deck rails to finally get to our boat. O just to add to the fun we were all carrying something, which was just heavy enough to throw our balance off the slightest bit. With all that said we some how all made it over to our boat unharmed and that’s no small feat considering there was over 50 of us!!!!

After that exciting bit we began the cruise, which was in many ways similar to field courses at Eckerd College. They used most of the same equipment for benthic and pelagic sampling and for the first time we worked at an American pace. It was quite interesting and showed me that solid fieldwork is pretty much completed in the same way around the world. We also made plenty of exceptional acquaintances and we had a great time getting to know some undergraduate students at XMU. Well that’s it for this week and I hope you tune in next week to see how my research in Xiamen Concludes!!!!!!

P.S. We did not have to walk the plank on the way back because we were at low tide and could use previously submerged stairs haha!