Crew Members Show off Research Ship to Minn. Leaders
Posted at: 08/06/2012 6:55 PM
| Updated at: 08/07/2012 8:50 AM
By: Alan Hoglund
"We can do almost anything. I haven't run into anything we couldn't do," Mike King said, about the ship he captains, the Blue Heron Research Vessel.
At 86-feet long, crew members told Eyewitness News the Blue Heron has more bells and whistles that any research vessel on the Great Lakes. As part of a small crew, he drives the University of Minnesota ship as colleagues do research on Lake Superior. They collect data with the goal of protecting the water.
Monday afternoon, the ship was packed with leaders from the State of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota, and UMD. "I love it and I love this research happening in my own backyard," Lt. Governor Yvonne Pretter-Solon said, a Duluth native.
Up close and personal, they saw, and learned about the equipment that helps researchers collect data.
During a short trip up the shore, Jason Agnich explained how the CTD works. CTD stands for conductivity, temperature, and depth.
"We've got a pH sensor," Agnich said, giving a very technical summary about how the piece of equipment works. Basically, he said it does tests on the water, and what is in the water.
Erik Brown, the acting director of the Large Lakes Observatory, summed up the reason researchers collect the data for us. "If we want to continue to use this lake, for fishing, or other things we enjoy, it's helpful to understand how it works and think about how it might be changing," he said.
Following flooding in June, Brown said researchers want to know how sediment in the lake is affecting its wildlife.
Eric Kaler, the president of the University of Minnesota, said the researchers are asking important questions, and they're getting important answers. "Part of our charge is to do this research and to answer questions that are really important to the future of the Great Lakes and the future prosperity of Minnesota," he said.