Recent Research Travels

Summer 2011

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work at the Carrie Bow Cay Field Station (a facility of the Smithsonian Institution) for one week.  The field station exists on a small (1-acre) island surrounded by coral reefs that lies 15 miles east of the country of Belize.  My goals for this visit were two-fold:

(1) to assess the facility and the surrounding habitat as a potential site for a May term course on the "Biology of Planktonic  Organisms" and (2): to collect and study larvae of benthic invertebrates. 

As I soon discovered, the size of this facility ca 1-acre prohibits is use as a course platform, but the habitat around this and nearby island is fantastic.  I am now looking at appropriate venues on other nearby islands and I feel confident that we will be able to find a suitable home base for this potential course.  I have already contacted potential facilitators.

The abundance and diversity of invertebrate larvae was fantastic.  During my stay at the CBC I was able to make 14 separate collections of the surface plankton.  From these samples of the surface plankton I was able to collect larvae from a wide variety of taxa and complete 16 separate experiments on the ability of invertebrate larvae to assimilate macromolecular forms of dissolved organic materials from seawater.  Although I have yet to analyze the results of the experiments, the short distance from sampling site to the laboratory (about 5 minutes) ensured that the specimens were in good condition and that the experiments will yield results representative of their biology.  It was one of those rare experiences where completed nearly all of my "to do" list.  I hope to come back (perhaps with a student or two) in the future and continue this work.

Photos at Right:

Top: Dockside view of the Carrie Bow Cay field station and our research vessel

Middle:  South Water Cay from Carrie Bow Cay - South Water Cay is to be a potential home base for a possible May Term course.

Bottom: My residence for one week - all this and larvae too!




Summer 2009

Two one-week trips were taken to the University of Maine's Darling Marine Center and the Smithsonian Marine Center at Fort Pierce, Florida. 

In Maine, samples of local larval forms were collected and used in experiments designed to determine the ability of larvae of marine annelids (segmented worms) can assimilated dissolved organic materials from seawater through the activity of their digestive system.

In Florida, samples of oceanic plankton were taken to collect larvae of sea stars (asteroid echinoderms) that are undergoing the process of cloning.  These specimens will be used to determine the morphological events associated with the clonal development of new individuals from tissue of existing larvae.

May 2008

Will Jaeckle and Craig Brauer (IWU student) joined a group of scientist from the University of Oregon and University of Southampton (UK) to study the feeding biology of larval forms of deep-sea echinoderms.  Aboard the R/V Seward Johnson and using the Johnson-Sea-Link submersibles, adult specimens of echinoderms were collected from depths to 700 m in the Bahamas.  When the specimens were returned to the surface, they were induced to spawn.  The resulting developmental stages were used in experiments to determine whether the developmental forms of these deep-sea species can use bacteria-sized or dissolved organic materials as food and to measure their rates of oxygen consumption.

View Will's Bahamas Voyage blog


May 2007

Will Jaeckle and Sarah Lewis and Oluwakewi "Kemi" Onajin (IWU students) joined a group of scientist from the University of Oregon and University of Southampton (UK) to study the vertical distribution of larval forms and their potential food organisms (cyanobacteria) aboard the R/V Walton Smith.  Using plankton nets and sampling bottles specimens were collected from the surface waters to 1000 m in the Atlantic Ocean surrounding the islands of the Bahamas. 

View photos of Will's biology research in the Bahamas

Craig Brauer on the JSL

Dr. Jaeckle and Craig Brauer on the Johnson-Sea-Link

Craig Brauer at the microscope

Top: Craig Brauer is happily contorted into an odd configuration in the aft chamber of the Johnson-Sea-Link submersible.
Middle: Will Jaeckle and Craig Brauer before their first dive in the Johnson-Sea-Link submersible (seen in the background).
Bottom: A euphoric Craig Brauer sorts through plankton samples deep into the night.
Sarah Lewis and MOCNESS Sarah and Kemi sorting plankton.
Sarah Lewis and Kemi Onajin at the scope
Sarah Lewis and MOCNESS
Sarah Lewis and Kemi Onajin sorting plankton

Other Research Travels

View Will's Antarctica Research Blog


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