Editor’s Note: A new feature here on Marine Science Today begins with this Field Report from Bilal Khan, a master’s candidate working with Prof. Michael Boufadel and his study team trying to figure out why oil pullution from the Exxon Valdez spill persists in Prince William Sound. The research is also trying to discover effective remediation techniques for this persistent oil. Field Reports are the unvarnished, unedited journal entries of marine researchers in the field. They are intended to give readers a unique, inside look at the day-to-day nature of field work, an essential part of all marine science. They should not be construed as representing the final conclusions or assessments of the study or of the principal investigator; merely a subjective account of the ongoing experience. We hope you enjoy this new feature.
July 12-July 18
This past week we were straightening out some logistics for the next Alaska trip. We would need some students to stay behind for the next trip actually, so that they could receive samples which would be shipped back frozen or near frozen. These samples would need to be attended to immediately for storage. Also, we need to figure out what we need to buy/build to take to Alaska, versus what is already there in the storage unit that we left behind. It sounds simple, but when you get in the field you have to make sure you have accounted for everything you need because there is no way to obtain anything once you are out in the Prince William Sound. We have to secure a boat for the people going, and also need to determine how long we will be staying to accomplish the tasks we are planning. Then, we need to get airline tickets and secure our travel arrangements. There is a ton of work to be done yet.
Other activities include working on computer simulations of for our injection systems already in the ground from our last trip. The injection system is basically a specially designed, perforated pipe that we buried in the ground in which we will add our tracer to the subsurface. We need to model this on the computer to determine roughly how the tracer will move with the tide cycles. Using this we will need to design our flow rate and injection time, which will help us pick out pumps and equipment to build the actual system. Of course, all this will have to be tested in the lab before going as well.
We have started to do SOD (Sediment Oxygen Demand) testing on some of the new Alaska samples, but we are having some difficulty with the apparatus. We are waiting for some equipment we ordered to come in, which we will use to build a new, better testing apparatus. I’ll keep you informed with the next report about that.
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