D341: Porcupine Abyssal Plain cruise 2009


Cruise blog

Friday 17 July 2009

The past few days on the ship have been pretty hectic. We have finally arrived on station at the PAP site and are currently sitting at 48º49.5946 north, 016º30.8267 west. The weather has now calmed down and it has even been a little sunny over the past few days – maybe summer has finally made it to the North Atlantic. Everyone on board has suddenly become very busy, as science has begun in earnest.

Wednesday 15th July saw the first deployment of a large mooring designed and run by the French scientists measuring oxygen consumption and a zooplankton (small organisms which live in the ocean). Last night, (Thursday 16th July) the ARIES (Auto Recorded Instrumented Sampler) was deployed to sample zooplankton. Deployment was also a success, with two full catches of marine zooplankton organisms being sorted and then either frozen or pickled over night. This evenings activities involve the deployment of the sediment corer. During the days there have been lots of other activities going on including the deployment of the Marine Snow Catcher, Zooplankton nets, in situ pumps (SAPS) to filter very large (1000’s of litres of water) and of course CTD (conductivity, temperature, density) deployments to measure the physical properties of the ocean at the site and to collect water samples for biological and chemical analysis. Over the coming weeks we hope to have some other blog entries on each of these activities mentioned here by the specialists working with them.

Although busy we have still had time to see the wildlife that populates the oceans in this part of the world. Yesterday a pod of dolphins was seen just off the starboard bow about 5 meters from the ship, which we think were Common dolphins or Atlantic White Sided dolphins. However they were moving so fast and riding the bow wave on the ship so deftly that we were not certain. A pod of large whales were also spotted this morning off in the distance, but they were too far away to determine what type they were.

We spotted whales!

Sarah and her zooplankton net

The CTD ready for action

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