Monday, June 14, 2010

14 June, 1911

Nelson at work in his lab.

Storms are giving us little rest. We found a thin stratus over the sky this morning, foreboding ill. The wind came with a rush, just after lunch.

Had a comfortless stroll around the hut; how rapidly things change when one thinks of the delights of yesterday! Paid a visit to Wright's ice cave; the pendulum is installed and will soon be ready for observation. The ice crystals in there are remarkably interesting.

This evening nelson gave his second biological lecture, starting with a brief reference to the scientific classification of organisms into Kingdom, Phylum, Group, Class, Order, Genus, and Species. He stated the justification of a biologist on such an expedition: "To determine the condition under which organic substances exist in the sea."

He then proceeded to state the obvious; that tiny vegetable organisms form the basis to all life. In the whale is a seal; in the seal a fish; in the fish a smaller fish; a copepod, a diatom. Since light is essential to vegetable life, and light quickly vanishes in depth of water, so all ocean life must depend on the phyto-plankton. To discover the conditions of this life is therefore to go to the root of matters.

He went on about recovery nets and deep water light studies. Bowers had us all laughing asking about the relationship of spiders to crustaceans.

Actually, Nelson is an exceedingly capable lecturer; he makes his subject very clear and is never too technical.

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