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UMaine Today Magazine

Testing the Waters Video
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Testing the Waters

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Video Text: Morgan Brunbauer, Marine Science Major: "I'm in the middle of the North Pacific at Station Papa. I'm a long way from home, about 1,000 miles west of Seattle. It's great being able to get out on a vessel like this, doing state-of-the-art research and working with Mark Wells and Eric Roy."

Eric Roy, Ph.D. Candidate, Oceanography: "So, the overall theme of the cruise is we're just basically looking at how trace metals, specifically iron and copper, affect the phytoplankton community. There are a lot of different moving parts on this cruise. We have a team looking at some of the molecular biology. My role is specifically the trace metal chemistry."

Mark Wells, Associate Professor, Marine Science and Research Cruise Principal Investigator: "So, we come here to study the productivity of the waters here from the prospective of the base of the food chain--the phytoplankton--the single-celled plants which take the sunlight energy and create it into chemical energy, or, in essence, food--food that gets passed into the food web all the way up to whales, for example."

Lisa Picknell, Ph.D. Candidate, Oceanography: "Phytoplankton is really important because they contribute a lot in terms of the global carbon cycle. They're really, really important because of photosynthesis, so they can draw down a lot of carbon from the atmosphere and contribute a lot of oxygen. It's really important that we can determine what it is that controls their growth and what makes them grow and bloom or not bloom."

Kathleen Hardy, Research Specialist: "It's very focused work. There are none of the normal distractions we would have at home. No bills to pay, no dinner to cook, no dishes to wash. We have a little bit of free time here and there."

[Background noise - laughter, chatting]

Kathleen Hardy: "I'm a bit of a wildlife enthusiast, so I go out early in the mornings with my binoculars and look at the sea birds and look for whales and that sort of thing, and that's an opportunity that you don't normally have."

Eric Roy: "There's not a lab on earth that has better scenery than this, that's for sure."

Lisa Picknell: "Coming out here and being out on the ocean, you know, which is what we're studying and to be so submersed in it is really exciting--the best part, I think, of my job. It's so much more exciting than being in the lab."

Morgan Brunbauer: "You get to be part of the research that's going on. Mark's a great guy, real laid-back, so it makes working for him really easy."

Mark Wells: "I think it's very important to give exceptional undergraduates the opportunity to come out and join expeditions like this. It really allows students a view into the broader field of science as a whole."

UMaine Today Magazine
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