October 11, 2023

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An unknown creature we found in our Tucker Trawl!

Ship's Log

September 10, 2023Time: 2238Location: 10 28.102 S 179? 01.161 E (close to) Funafuti, TuvaluWeather: low pressure system, light sprinkles and squalls (popcorn farts), SxSE winds Beaufort force 5

Hey, I'm Mark, a sophomore at Northeastern University majoring in Biochemistry with minors in Environmental Science and Engineering! Now, however, I am a member of A watch, alongside some of the most caring, fascinating, and innately inquisitive individuals I've ever had the honor of working with: Prue, Austin, Suzanna, and Emily Rose!Perhaps, perched upon the ship's bow, the experiential fortune may be easily taken for granted, but to me, the sea's glistening grandeur brings with it ominous undertones┘ Picture this, you're an excited undergraduate student, peering through a magnified lens anticipating a detailed peek into microlives beyond our myopic capacity. Dimly lit, teeth grit. As pixels convolute into curves, you start to make out what appears to be a piece of degraded plastic, or rather, a microplastic. Eyebrows furrowed, your tweezers incessantly bother it, frustration inexorable. Then, in a microfit of rage, their metallic fingers tear at the polypropylene surface, which to everyone's surprise, reveals a translucent cytoplasmic material! A sentient pteropod mistaken for anthropogenic toxicity, how┘ peculiar.It might be inherently apocalyptic, but can anyone fault me for pondering if this seemingly innocent misidentification foreshadows an impending ideological catastrophe, where life and genotoxic nonlife become indifferentiable? I mean beyond notion, the predicament already persists. Alike terrigenous dissolved organic matter (tDOM), suspensory particulates derived from the chemical weathering of rocks, microplastics are equally refractory to photo-bio-degradation processes by means of aromatic incorporation, (i.e.) chemically inert polyphenolic products from coastal lignin deposits. Is nature, then, facultative of its own demise? Or could my perspective reek of anthropocentrism?Parallel thoughts have characterized this trip thus far, for better or worse. Time at sea has been truly profound. Internet deconnection has adjusted my eyes to Gaia's intricacies, namely the infinitesimal ripples of waves. Energy unobstructed and often overlooked.On a more personal tangent, time aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans has also demystified my attraction to the ocean. While I've been set on pursuing a career in marine science for time immemorable, I've always acknowledged my unorthodox draw to the seas. Marine scientists illuminated at the sight of phenomena for which I could care less about √ a recurring scene I'd become increasingly uncomfortable with. Where exactly does my interest lie? Well, now I know! I've finally figured it out! Turns out, I am drawn to the oceans not for what they present, but for what they hide. I pursue the study of oceanography to learn of optimizing biomechanisms that can potentially be copy-engineered for biocentric societal benefit, a process known as Biomimicry. Additionally, I'm particularly drawn to the study of life (extremophiles) in regions unexplored √ Astrobiology.To more adventures and more revelations, let us learn the Tuvaluvan way!Shoutouts:Happy Birthday Austin!

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One Comment

  1. Sara, Mom to Satya October 24, 2023 at 23:31 - Reply

    What and insightful, scientific poet you are, Mark! Thank you!

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