ARMADA logo ARMADA Project -- Research and Mentoring Experiences for Teachers National Science Foundation logo


Journals 2006/2007

Gioya DeSouza-Fennelly
IS 143-Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School, NY, New York

"Conducting an East-West Atlantic transect to investigate the coupling between atmospheric and oceanic organic pollutants"
R/V Endeavor
June 20 - July 9, 2006
Journal Index:
June 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 - 26
        27 - 28 - 29 - 30
July 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9

Additional Resources

June 20, 2006
R/V Endeavor

Welcome to the R/V Endeavor, a NSF scientific research ship built in 1976. We boarded the ship at the Heraklion Ferry Pier in Crete at 8:00 am. Our 3-member science team: David Nelson (Marine Technician), Eric Morgan (Chief Scientist) and myself set to work immediately installing the 2 high volume air sampler filters on the fly bridge, for contamination-free air sampling. The water sampling equipment was installed in the wet lab. This consisted of a filtration unit for particulate compounds, a series of absorbents (puffs) for dissolved compounds and a flow meter. This equipment will have direct access to uncontaminated de-bubbled seawater from a depth of 5 meters.

R/V Endeavor

The ship set sail at 11.00am. The sea is like a sheet of glass, except for the engine noise, it was hard to tell we were moving. We will be sailing with a 10-member crew instead of the usual fifteen. The crew seems wonderful, everyone assured us they were there to assist us in any way they could. Mike Brennan the Chef/Steward gave me a quick tour of the ship. He also gave me the linen and toilet articles for my room and showed me the supply closet. I am lucky to have a room with its own head (bathroom).

As soon as the ship set sail, Armando (Chief Officer) asked Eric and me to watch a safety video. We were then given a run through of all the safety procedures on the ship. Including putting on the "Gumby" suit in 2 minutes. Pat (AB) told me he had gone water skiing in February in Rhode Island wearing a similar suit and it kept him warm for over 2 hours. That was reassuring. I was just glad they did not throw us over board to give us a real life experience.

Struggling to put on the Gumby suit   Modeling the suit

Description of Project
There is no data available for organic pollutants showing the East-West gradient across the Atlantic. On this research cruise with the R/V Endeavor, gradients will be measured in both water and air. While atmospheric transport patterns change on a daily basis, the upper mixed layer of the Atlantic Ocean represents weeks to months of equilibration and exchange time with the atmosphere. Air measurements are important as they are directly related to polluted air mass input to the Atlantic Ocean. It is expected that close to the US and European coasts, the atmosphere is supplying POPs to the Ocean. It is unclear, however, if or where POPs reach equilibrium distribution between ocean and atmosphere, or if the Inner Atlantic has turned into a net source of POPs to the atmosphere. All the designated POPs bioaccumulated in the foodchain, cause adverse effects in top predators. Among the targeted compounds are industrial chemicals, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), combustion by-products, notably polychlorinated dioxins and furans and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Black Carbon (BC) is a summary term for heterogeneous, aromatic and carbon-rich compounds, which are also recalcitrant in the environment. BC is also known as elemental carbon, soot, or charcoal. The water measurements will provide an ideal long-term average of the East-West concentration gradient of selected POPs.

Scientific Objectives
    This research cruise aims to obtain data to address the following:
  1. What is the concentration gradient of selected POPs on an East-West Atlantic Ocean transect in air and water?
  2. What role do oceanic processes play in the fate of organic pollutants?
  3. What is the flux of atmospheric black carbon to the Atlantic, and its role in transporting POPs?
Technical Objectives
  1. To install a modified high-volume air sampler on the fly bridge of the R/V Endeavor and prove that contamination-free air sampling of POPs can be performed
  2. To mount and use a filter-absorbent sampling train for contamination free water sampling in the Wet Lab, using the direct seawater inlet at a depth of 5 meters
  3. To deploy passive samplers on-board, to verify the absence of contamination sources

We decided to let the equipment run through the night and start collecting data tomorrow. We will be taking airflow readings twice a day at volumes of 600 m3. The water flow rate was set at 2 liters per minute and the GF/F (glass fiber filters) will be changed after every 1000 liters or when the flow rate drops.

Meals were served in the mess hall. Mike's creativity shows in his cooking the food was great. Mike made sure to show me where the ice cream freezer was upstairs. With only 13 people on board the atmosphere is very laid back. I understand that usually 30 people eat in one hour.

It has been a long day. I am going to bed. It is 10:00 pm.