Collecting our plankton samples takes only a small portion of our days. Most of our time is spent in the lab at the Naval Post-graduate School counting the samples. This means we spend hours looking through microscopes and counting zooplankton species (we have phytoplankton samples too but as of right now Alan is the only one counting them, Daniel and I will learn how once we return to OIMB), keeping track with tally marks and "clicker" counters. To keep our minds from going crazy we alternate between listening to music and Science Friday because it is difficult to hold conversation while trying to keep count. Most often we see the same animals over and over again, but every once in a while we find something exciting and everybody comes over to look in your scope to see why you're so excited.
We see worms regularly (polychaetes), but it's not very often that we find ones with tentacles. With the naked eye this guy looks like a small little speck, something you wouldn't expect to be a living creature...it is much more intimidating when looked at with a microscope. It's rather fascinating actually. The whole time I'm looking at all these microscopic organisms my brain can't help but think about all the things I've swallowed when I accidently take a big gulp of water when I'm swimming. My awareness of the water around me has definitely taken on a whole new perspective.