Biology Group: Preparing for the Palpable

Hello All.


It's been a hectic few weeks for everyone working in, and orbiting around, the COOLRoom. Over the weekend, early Saturday morning, our stoic Scarlet glided right into Spain's EEZ. Given that the recovery is still yet to occur, this may be a bit premature to exclaim, but: we made it! Scarlet's 'crossing over' means so many different things for a large group of hardworking, dedicated people. But the members of the Biology Team (being 'biologists' and all) are once again preoccupied with barnacles.  

Given the pomp-and-circumstance of this historic moment, it's easy to forget the palpable goals of the mission, and the necessary processes that must now occur, after the distance has been covered. History has been made (is still being made), but now Scarlet's recovery is on everyone's minds. The students of the Atlantic Crossing class have been preparing for this stage of the mission all semester, working on specific elements that are sure to influence the process of Scarlet's recovery. Other groups, such as wind, waves, weather, and boating will effect when and how the glider can be recovered from the ocean, viagra hinta, factors that have many potential economic, mechanical, and procedural consequences. Most of the other groups have had archives of topic specific data sets to work with, make predictions based on, etc. provided by different software networks, most imaged from satellite technologies. Us? Well, we've had a few jgps to handle, but little tangible data to work with, and certainly no "sets" of glider specific barnacle data to refer to. Barnacle growth on an AUV 200 days at sea is, like everything else about this mission, an unprecidented occurance. 

When it comes to barnacle research, I have come to believe that nothing can be substituded for "the real thing." In order to understand anything about the biology that has grown (still growing) on RU27, we need to sample. So Scarlet's recovery means something really exciting for the biology team: access to specimens!

The acquisition of palpable barnacle data, among other things, is an issue of logistics. So, I set up a meeting with Judy Grassle on Thursday to discuss the proper procedure for preserving barnacle specimens. Chip will be on the boat, and hopefully, over the side of the boat on the recovery trip, gently easing Scarlet into the zodiac (in 6 meter waves, if we're lucky). He'll be the one actually scraping the specimens off of Scarlet. Here is the tentative procedure Judy and I came up with:


Recovery Itinerary: Barnacle Preservation


A) carefully remove specimens from all areas of biological growth

 [Ideally, we would be able to procure samples from each species present, and each surface area of growth! ]

B) immediately after barnacle removal from glider, in air tight jar, immerse specimens in a 10% formalin solution (in filtered seawater) 

  [make sure each species from each surface area sampled are placed in separate jars and labeled accordingly!]

C) After 24 hrs: rinse samples in freshwater --> transfer to 70% ethyl alcohol solution



Transfer barnacles into tightly sealed jar w/ 70% ethyl alcohol straight after removal


Question we need to answer: 

a) What exactly do we want to sample - just barnacles, or biofilm (film of microscopic organisms) and whatever else?

b) What do we do with them - what tests should be done?

c) Where are they going - back to IMCS? Elsewhere? If in formalin solution: how do we ship the hazardous material?


Hopefully we will have these Qs answered this week. It's down to the wire. And these barnacles are the one thing that RU27's impeccable pilots have not been able to adjust for during flight. In this case, theory won't do: we need to understand the actual nature of the biological growth in order to improve future flight patterns.




Amanda, Brian, Montana, Gina

One Response to “Biology Group: Preparing for the Palpable”

  1. Aspa D. C Says:

    Hey COOL Scientists,
    I think I like your project the best, maybe bk I understand it better.
    And also I have some answers to your questions!hahahaha

    1. I would stick with the barnacle side of the story, bk as I read this has been your aim from the get-go, plus biofilm architecture is equally convoluted as the Miro one in the buildings in Barcelona. Studying biofilms involves a lot of Molecular biology bench work and I know from experience that that is tedious and doubt that you have the resources for it (=costs money)!
    If I didnt convince you against it, ask Dr Costa Vetriani on the 2nd floor of IMCS and he will tell you stories about biofilms in the deep sea and help you out with whatever you want to do. He is COOL!

    2. As per what tests to do on the barnacles: you can get fantastically magical information based on phenotypic characteristics, using diversity indices like Shannon-Weiner...Again, diversity is both how many you got AND how well they are represented in the sample. Quite easy to do actually. I did it this summer with my seashells for FUN!

    3. You get them sent to you MAN. You DESERVE THEM! Technical advice to circumvent postal beurocracy: Mark as EDUCATIONAL MATERIAL and get hazardous material INFO from the secreteries at IMCS. They are trully ALL KNOWING!

    Good luck with your COOL project