August 21, 2012
A long tradition in oceanographic studies is making tiny cups for some reason. That reason or reasons, at least for the start of this, escapes me but I do enjoy it. Water is heavy right. And it does not compress. As you go deeper and deeper into the ocean there is more and more water above you and the weight of this water adds up. So at depth you have a lot of water above you and this water causes an increase of pressure. This pressure will increase as you go deeper. Why is this relevant to making tiny cups? Well we take styrofoam cups and send them down with the CTD (see earlier post but its the thing we use to collect water at each depth) and since there is so much pressure they actually get crushed and shrink down to about 1/3 their size but this depends on how far we send them down. To make this more interesting (even though tiny cups themselves seem pretty cool at first) we decorate them in some way, usually colored markers, and then shrink them.
Here we can see two cups that I decorated and sent down to the deep. I think they went down to about 4500 meters. The cup on the right is suppose to have an anaconda staring down a Tricho colony.
The picture below shows everyone’s cups right after they came up. Most people on the cruise take part in this though some of the people that have done this a million times only write things like the date and coordinates. In the middle of the picture you can see a tiny head. This was actually a life size foam head that some middle school students decorated. Pretty cool huh? People can get creative with this.
One last thing is that every so often when I tell people about this they think its part of the research. I could never understand why but they do. So just to be positive this is not research…just stupid fun.