Let me tell you about the glove bag.
At every station we collect sediment cores to look at nutrients in the pore water (water in the sediment). After sampling with a multiple corer, the sediment is sliced in thin disks from which the pore water is extracted. Since the nutrients in the water can be affected by oxygen, the slicing has to be done in an oxygen free environment. That’s where the glove bag comes in.
The glove bag is a big bag in which you put all the things you need to slice and then with nitrogen gas. The bag has two built-in gloves where you can attach for example a master student. Then you leave the glove bag and the student in a room that has the same temperature as the bottom of the Baltic Sea, and after a while you have nice sediment that has been sliced in an anoxic environment. Very handy.
The glove bag is also useful in other situations. If the food costs are getting slightly to high, you can always attach the master student to the glove bag over lunch. If you still want to save some money, you can turn on the gas flow to the bag and then go away to do something else, leaving the immobilized student attached to the inflating bag and wait for them to fly away. I don’t know, maybe it’s all just a test to make sure that only the toughest students stay. I passed the test.
Our glove bag is quite cheap, but pretty okay. The gloves never fit anyone, the inside of the bag quickly gets covered with mud, and the condensate from your breath prevents you from seeing what you are doing. Sebastiaan, on the other hand, has some kind of space circus tent for his cores. No mess. I’m a bit jealous. I think Sebastiaan felt slightly sorry for the poor starving master student, since he offered to feed me with cookies while my hands were stuck in the bag.
Since working in a glove bag makes life a bit difficult, you have to come up with smart solutions to not create chaos in your big gas bubble. After spending an hour in the glove bag, a frustrated Madde mysteriously disappeared with Misha yesterday evening. A while later they turned up with their new creation; the super tube rack, equipped with special holders for everything you need for pore water extraction. Being on a cruise really brings forth your creativity.
Finally, I promised a collage of coffee mugs. As you might already know, scientists are fuelled by coffee and tea. This results in a mayhem of mugs, and you can for some reason never find our own, half-finished mug of tea. Maybe our test tube labels could come to use here.
Best wishes from a sunny sea,