Auburn University
Academic Departments Student Services Alumni Research Outreach Diversity
Auburn University

Daily Journals


May 16, 2006


It was a bit rough for sorting this morning’s Blake trawl.  Every so often a really large wave would come through and soak the deck – up to one’s knees.  The benthic crew eventually moved the deck sorting operation indoors (well, sort of - the aquarium room), and proceeded nicely.  It was more of the same the next couple of times with rough seas and winds 35-40 knots.

Getting to Know You – Dr. Rhian Waller


Dr. Rhian Waller, Postdoctoral Investigator at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)

Rhian did her undergraduate work at the University of Mid-Wales at Aberystyth, and received her PhD from Southampton University, England.

Rhian is here to help the main project in any way she can, but on the side she is able to perform some research of her own.  I started to learn about Rhian’s project when we drove all over Punta Arenas looking for aquarium supplies for her anticipated ocean bottom coral.  The plan is to put several small corals flabellum curvatum into aquaria environments, and see if she can get them to spawn or ‘have babies’.  This will help her with future study using genetics to learn how these coral reproduce.


We have a few extra people on board who needed to get from Chile to Palmer Station in Antarctica.  Palmer is on Anvers Island on the west side of the peninsula.  These people are each integral to the station in some context that makes them officially able to ‘hitch a ride’ with the L. M. Gould.  The payoff is, however, that they must be along for the ride for as long as it takes us to get there – a side trip here, some science to be done there….  But all are in our midst as we do what we do, and I’m sure we’ll notice a void when they leave us.  Jack Baldelli, for one, has shared some amazing photos of the sea birds he’s been taking, as well as his knowledge in identifying them for us.  He’s going to Palmer as a diver to do some saltwater intake pipe maintenance.  Neel Pahl is a firefighter who has a special safety project at Palmer.  Toby Koffman is a boating coordinator at Palmer, usually in the summer months, but is going out now to cover for a counterpart at that job.  At this time of year there will be some boating, but mostly station boat maintenance.  Some of these folks will be coming back with us at the end of our trip, others will stay longer.  They say that September is the worst month for access to Palmer, when it really gets iced in, so there will still be a window of navigable weather there for a couple of months more.

Another side trip we’ll take will be to deliver repair supplies to a sailing research vessel in one of the islands on the way to Anvers.  Really, this territory is so specialized as far as access goes, it takes teamwork to keep everyone going, and we’re happy to be a part of that. 

So, don't hesitate to email questions to us at



S53° 43.184’  W59° 40.815’



Wind:  NNW at 31 kn

Air Temp:  8.2°C   Wind Chill: -4.9°C


Blackened salmon, beef stew, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, fresh salad, and carrot cake



Deck operations – benthic team hovers over the sorting box…

…while decks get a regular rinsing!

Dr. Rhian Waller

Flabellum curvatum, red and white
[Photo by Susie Balser]

Auburn grad student, Alexis Janosik specializes in sea stars.