MedSea Mesocosm Experiment in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

Effects of ocean acidification and warming on pelagic ecosystem functioning of the Mediterranean

First days (by Dan Miller)

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The first days are always hard.
Well, ok, not if these are the first days on a beautiful tropical island. But then again, all the days there look just the same.
Really, imagine the first days as baby experiences. Does it sound like fun to you? You can’t do nothing on your own, being 100% depended on someone else that you don’t even know. It sounds like hell to me.

Or even better, think about the last job you had that you hated so much: first days were horrible weren’t they? Trying to impress everyone… bagging for love from everyone around you like a street dog, trying to be “diplomatic”. Personally, I decided long ago that “diplomacy” is an amorphous definition of something I just can’t grasp and since then I’m simply being myself when I meet new people. This strategy by the way resulted in everyone around me well aware of my anxieties and weakness (or at least that’s what my weak and paranoid brain tells me). I am not recommending it to anyone that is capable of diplomatic behavior.

But this is a blog about the progress of the experiment right? I wanted to tell how hard were the first two days and here I go, exposing myself like some sort of an exhibitionist, and then I wonder that people are aware of my weaknesses.

Well, to be honest, it wasn’t that hard actually.

Yes, it was hot, and it took some time but it wasn’t that hard. Preparing the mesocosms on Thursday took a little more than I expected but it was interesting. Especially watching Jorgos in action. No, that wasn’t “interesting”, it was totally inspiring. This dude really thinks outside of the box ladies and gents. It is impressive to see how fast he finds a solution to all the unavoidable small problems and obstacles that emerge when lifting such a project. You should have seen his face when he discovered that the mid-stripe of the lids is longer than the diameter of the supportive ring that holds the mesocosms (the lids do not fit to the rings)- it was true sorrow and deep disappointment (and it was already 20:30 if I remember correctly). A second later however he found the best way to cut the rests off and then business went on as usual…

Or when three of us were trying to put the mesocosm construction on the holders that were set up on the edge of the pool, and only one side (one of the two pins that fit into the holder) got into the holder- what do you think we were doing? we were trying to pull it back out like crazy, sweating like animals and ignoring the fact that you will probably need a crane to do so. He just came up smiling and screwed out the holder from the wall, than placed it back in with the pin in it…Yes, it was definitely inspiring working with him.

Then came the next day, and we started filling the bags. I will spare you the technical details of the filling work, it’s not interesting at all, but for some reason it was so much FUN! Watching all these people working so hard to make this experiment work really made me think about how strange my job actually is, and how funny it might look from the side, that such an enormous effort is invested just to build up this lego, put a large amount of water in it and see what happens with it if you let it stand for 2 weeks while increasing the amount of CO2 in it and warming it. And yet there is nothing I rather do right now more than just this.

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