Caught in the act! When weather gets in the way of science…

Today, my labmate, Chris Newton and I had a grueling day of diving planned: 3 dives, 60+ minutes each, in the chilly October waters of Nahant and Manchester. For the past couple months we have set up and maintained an invasive species monitoring and removal experiment, to document the presence and impact of the invasive red alga Heterosophonia japonica in subtidal habitats in New England.

Heterosiphonia japonica – the alga we were hoping to survey today

However when I got to the lab, and saw 5-foot waves at our dive site, I suspected we might not be diving today. While we grad students will usually brave bad weather and other various obstacles in the name of research, we have to draw the line somewhere. So we decided to reschedule our dive in an effort to avoid some painful and dangerous shore entries, which would most likely be followed by visibility so poor that surveying would be impossible.

Waves like this make diving a bit dangerous

In the grand scheme of things hopefully this storm will not set us back too much, we should still be able to do the surveys sometime in October. Could have been much worse, sometimes whole experiments are ruined by storms and researchers simply have to start over. And on the other hand, sometimes a study may be born out of a storm, such as this one by Dr. Geoff Trussell, the director of the Marine Science Center.

Just another day in the unpredictable world of field science!!

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