A tale of two Gulf spills: A research consortium of 17 institutions from 5 countries studying the impacts of oil spills on the Gulf of Mexico.
My name is Zenaida María Navarro Martínez. I am a PhD student from the Center for Marine Research, University of Havana (CIM-UH). My research topic is Ecology and conservation of marine fishes. My PhD, specifically, is about bonefish and tarpon connectivity through different areas in Cuba. I was on the Weatherbird II in the first leg (May 10-16, 2017). My role in the cruise was the fisheries and I helped in plankton activities too.
My experience on board of Weatherbird II was great!!! Actually, in all the aspects: researcher, personal, commodities, I am very satisfied and I felt better compared to my expectations. I learned, in first place, how to work in an oceanographic vessel. This was my first time on board of this type of vessel and working in deeper areas.
This cruise was an important experience for my professional career. I learned many procedures to new sampling techniques, many of them not related to my field work. Also, I had contact with species and areas that usually have limited access. I learned more about the techniques, uses and what information we can obtain from the different parts of fishes. I observed and I worked in the identification of species that I saw for first time.
In my opinion the cruise will provide important information for the scientific community of the Gulf of Mexico, and especially to Cuban scientists. Because of the technological requirements of this kind of cruise, it was a big success for its development in Cuban waters. This opportunity was remarkable too, for all the students who shared the educational day.
Also, I had the chance of exchange information with scientists that work in my research field or in close fields to mine. We had the opportunity to exchange cultures and knowledge with them and the others crew members.
The food was great!!! This was big variability of dishes and excellently cooked. The travel and time on board in general was perfect.
I want to say thanks to everybody who makes possible this experience, and honestly I want to say that it was amazing!!!