Aquatic Research: Everybody Participates!
Whatever our mission may be, there is some
learning for everyone, from younger students
to seasoned professionals! And there is exciting
work for all of us to do!
There is a minimum complement, or selection
of skills, that is necessary to go on a research
trip. It's not just a number - it's a collection
of PROFICIENCIES that different people have to
put into practice. What exactly is the minimum
To run the engines and generators, navigate the
harbors and open waters of the lake, and find
the places we wish to go, we need at least two
people. One is the engineer, who knows how to
ruin the engines, fix them when necessary, and
operate the valves that control steering, propulsion,
and hydraulic equipment like winches, the anchor
windlass, and so on. Another is the all-important
Captain, who is responsible for commanding activities
from the bridge, enforcing the use of proper
safety measures, and often serving as navigator
to plot the vessel's course from the dock to
the sampling sites and back.
Ship's science support:
A third person, the deck hand, skilled in basic
equipment use is necessary to operate winches,
handle docking lines and moorings, and sometimes
to cook lunch or dinner. The Captain and the
engineer are often busy operating the vessel,
and the deck hand is the most frequent person
directly involved with performing "over
the side" operations for science.
One person is in command of the scientific component
of the trip. They decide which locations to sample,
the order of sampling procedures, and are the
final word in communication with the Captain
about the day's activities. The Chief Scientist
is usually well experienced in most or all of
the methods needed to accomplish research goals.
Most sampling action requires more than one person
- in rare instances the Chief Scientist and the
deck hand will do the work together, but usually
there are science assistants.
Assistant scientists or technicians:
Usually two other trained scientific collaborators
come along. They may be other investigators or
professional laboratory employees. They may also
be students or teachers out for real-world learning
experience. They work under the direction of
the Chief Scientist.
Where in the world shall we go?