03 November: Worms!

I pulled some worms out of little holes in a coral yesterday.

That’s not something I’ve done before.

Another successful ROV dive came up on deck.  The Isis carries five bottles for collecting seawater, and my job is to process these seawater samples. Some samples are chemically preserved, some are filtered, and some are analysed on board. When everything was done to preserve the seawater samples, I went to find the biologists to see if I could help. Michelle told me that I could help by pulling worms out of a coral, which she would be able to use in her research. And that I should not lose the heads, as they’re really important for identification.

“Are you sure you want to trust me with such an important job?”, I asked apprehensively.

Apparently she did.

Whilst I frequently work with biologists, I’m rarely able to carry out such “front-line” biology (as it were) myself. Somewhat disturbing, but somewhat satisfying, I spent the next few minutes yanking out little centimetre-sized scaly worms with a pair of tweezers, desperately trying to avoid pinging off any heads across the laboratory.

Surprisingly, this sort of thing is what I love about being on a research cruise: you get to see and learn new things to which you would otherwise never get exposed. The other day I brushed up my geology skills by helping to slice up a deep-sea sediment core. I’ve learnt new computer programs, and operated cameras that are over two kilometres away. I’ve found out about mapping the seafloor, and about some of the amazing creatures that live there. Let’s see what today has in store…

Blog Written By: Kate Hendry

Posted in Preparing for field work
2 comments on “03 November: Worms!
  1. Tom Hendry says:

    Question: are the worms that Kate wrote about alive or long-dead ?

    Greetings to all on board the James Cook!

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