Shelf Sea Biogeochemistry blog

Sunday, 12 July 2015

SSB Cruise DY033: Leaving Southampton

This is first blog entry from Cruise DY033, which is the latest in the series of Shelf Sea Biogeochemistry (SSB) cruises. My name is Mark Moore and I am the principal scientist on this final pelagic focused cruise of the SSB programme.

We are all excited to see what has been happening since the last pelagic cruise in spring and will be looking forward to finding out how the characteristics of the water column have developed following the spring phytoplankton bloom, alongside performing a whole series of measurements and experiments aimed at developing a better understanding of what is going on in the post bloom summer period.

I was really impressed with how smoothly mobilisation for the cruise went.

The RRS Discovery leaving port in Southampton

Thanks to the hard work of all the scientists and crew, all the equipment was loaded, boxes unpacked and instruments set up in just 2 days, partly reflecting the fact that many of the people on board are now very well rehearsed having been on a series of these cruises. Indeed, I personally feel a bit like the newcomer, this being my first cruise within the SSB programme. So I am looking forward to finally being able to ‘get wet’ and be involved in the at sea work. The cruise is also a bit of a personal journey for me as we will be working in the Celtic Sea where I performed much of my PhD work (quite a few years ago now…).

Having left Southampton on Saturday evening (see picture), we have now transited down through the English Channel and are on route to our first working area around our array of moorings, many of which have been in place for more than 18 months collecting unique data which will form a central part of the programme. Although we already have a few underway systems running and recording data, the major science operations will commence early tomorrow with us adding some additional shorter duration moorings to the array alongside the deployment of some gliders.

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