Shelf Sea Biogeochemistry blog

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Shrinking Styrofoam Cups

Louis Byrne, British Oceanographic Data Centre, NOC

We’ve done it!  A day of sampling at CANDYFLOSS was followed by a quick jaunt to the shelf edge to pick up some gilders and do a few CTDs and the data collection phase of the cruise is officially over. The final CTD of the day was performed off the shelf edge to a depth of 1000m, and a few of the scientists decorated polystyrene cups and attached them to the CTD rosette. This is a bit of a tradition on oceanography cruises, as the pressure at 1000m causes the cups to shrink in size, producing quaint miniature decorations like the one pictured.

Polystyrene cups post CTD. Designs by Dicky Deal.

We’re now steaming from the shelf edge back to Southampton, a journey which will take approximately 36 hours. The work doesn’t finish then however, as the data that has been collected during this cruise will need to be processed, analysed and then written up into scientific papers. These papers will then be peer reviewed and published in scientific journals, contributing to the advancement of our understanding of key biogeochemical processes in the shelf edge.

The data meanwhile will be sent to the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) where they will be archived along with all of their associated metadata. In doing so the final datasets produced by this project will be preserved for future use, and will eventually be made available to the public free of charge (access to the data will be restricted for a few years to give the researchers responsible for collecting the data the chance to write their papers before the data are made publicly available).

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