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1980s Photos of Brine Shrimp Research
Courtesy of Gayle Dana

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Burning boat

I used to go out on joint sampling trips with DWP in the early- to mid-80's. DWP took us out in their boat, the "Willit Run." On this particular summer morning in 1984 (either July or August), we took off from the boat ramp (SW shore) and within a minute of taking off, heard a big KaBam! The engine cover (inboard motor) blew off, 20 feet into the sky and the engine was on fire! We tried to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher (which we could not get to work!). As the fire starting spreading toward some spare tanks full of gas, we decided it was time to abandon ship. We all grabbed life jackets and swam to shore.

Luckily we were only a few hundred yards from shore, and the water was warm. No one was hurt. The boat burned for a while, but as you can see from the photos, it eventually sank. DWP sent divers down to examine the boat, as they wanted to determine the cause of the fire, but the divers couldn't find the boat in the deep muck. One aside: I often sat on the engine cover, but luckily wasn't perched there when the explosion happened.

The photos were taken by Scott Stine. Scott was staying on the north shore, and since this was early morning, he was sleeping at the time. A friend, seeing the smoke, rushed to wake Scott, saying that there were volcanoes erupting in the lake (all he could see was the smoke, and not the boat)! When Scott saw the smoke, he suspected it was a boat and drove around to the west shore to make sure we were all right, and snapped these photos.


Gayle Dana sampling at Mono Lake in the 1980s.
Gayle and emergence traps

DWP biologists and myself designed and built these emergence traps to measure the emergence of shrimp as they hatched from the lake bottom. The traps worked quite well, but we never used them again.

Becky Todd

Becky was a UCSB biologist who worked with me on the shrimp and algae studies in the lake in the 1980s.

Chuck, Larry, and Gayle

Chuck Culbertson and Larry Miller were USGS scientists who did biogeochemical studies on the lake in the 1980s. They would stay at the Best Western for weeks at a time and set up a lab in a garage at the hotel.

The Buoy Balance

One sampling day, the USGS team bet that I couldn't balance on one of the orange buoys we used on the lake. They were almost right. I was on the buoy for about a split second (just enough to capture the photo); the combination of the slippery, alkaline water (it was slicker than snot, excuse my language!) and the tippy nature of the buoy made it extremely difficult to stay on top. Needless to say, I was in the lake more than I was on the buoy.

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