Indian Springs Biological Sampling
Indian Springs Sampling 02/19/00
written by David Sweetin
February 26, 2000 An unseasonably warm sunny morning found the dive team of Brett Dodson and David Sweetin making their initial inspection of the Indian Spring basin. Subtle clues hinted at the possibility that the cave was siphoning slightly. The surface water was warm and shrouded by a layer of filamentous green algae.
The dive plan called for a 60 minute bottom time, visiting several sampling stations. An 18/35 trimix stage bottle and back gas provided an ample gas supply, as well as plenty of redundancy in the unlikely event of an emergency. Following the requisite equipment checks, the subtle rhythmic beeping of the Hydrolab data logger indicated that all was in order and the dive was commenced.
Visibility was greatly reduced from that of the previous dive at this site. A thermocline was easily discernable, approaching the maximum depth of our first sampling station. At this site, suspended silt particles were noted drifting further into the cave.
Sampling continued at each station, with plankton tows and individual collections. Each sample was immediately recorded to ensure accuracy, and to facilitate later study. Making its first appearance on this dive, the Mark 1 Mod 0 Bug Bottle was tested for viability. Although it performed as intended, the Bug Bottle, originally designed by Boris Sket, will undergo several minor refinements to enhance that performance. The ultimate goal is to create a tool capable of confining one or more organisms quickly and easily, while at the same time reducing and streamlining the amount of sampling vials required. It is important to note that a clean, uncluttered diving gear configuration makes this type of equipment intensive scientific sampling possible. It must never be forgotten; that extra scientific equipment must also be subject to the same scrutiny given the diving gear, to maintain the integrity of the entire DIR philosophy.
Earlier data captured by the Hydrolab DataSonde will make for interesting reading when juxtaposed with data recorded on this dive, while the cave was siphoning.