Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Science Staff Profile: Chelsie Archibald

While aboard CCGS Hudson, I wake up around 530am when the sun starts streaming in my porthole, and every evening I watch the sun colour the sky pink and orange and then sink into the sea. In between those two stunning events, I spend my day helping out with the survey, looking out to sea, enjoying a few too many of the home-baked goods, and enjoying my time with the fantastic people aboard the ship. You could say I’m in my element, and I feel very lucky to be here.
My main role on this cruise is to help with recording some of the information we gain from the ROPOS surveys – specifically recording information about each dive and using software to characterize the habitats and fauna encountered. ROPOS (Remotely Operated Platform for Ocean Science) and the amazing team that operates and maintains this ROV, provides us with a close-up view of the seafloor in the Gulf of Maine – a view you couldn’t imagine seeing not that long ago. Its such a thrill to see first-hand the incredible life and diversity of Atlantic Canada’s deep sea – the beautiful sponge and anemone ‘gardens’, the giant boulder fields, the steep rock walls covered in epifauna, the scallop beds, and the ancient cold-water corals. We’ve also had the pleasure of looking off the deck to be greeted by pods of pilot whales, an enormous finback whale, rafts of seabirds, sharks and sunfish!
After this journey, I’ll return to St. Andrews Biological Station in St. Andrews, NB where I work in Peter Lawton’s lab on the Census of Marine Life’s Gulf of Maine Area project. I have previously completed my BSc. (Marine Biology) at Dalhousie University and MSc. (Marine Science) at Otago University in New Zealand. This is the furthest offshore I’ve ever been and it is such a pleasure to be working at sea and to contribute to understanding more about life in the Discovery Corridor.