Shelf Sea Biogeochemistry blog

Saturday 4 April 2015

Three, two, one … go! .... Welcome to the Central Celtic Sea!

Chata Seguro, PhD student,  University of East Anglia

It is 4th of April, 10 am and we have just finished almost all of the work for the day. Many of the SSB (Shelf Sea Biochemistry) scientists had a very early morning, rising at 2:30am for the first pre-dawn CTD of the cruise. 

Why we are doing all the work so early in the morning? 

Because we need to catch the phytoplankton while they are not fully active, so that we can start our measurements and experiments early and follow their activity throughout the day. There was a bit  of confusion and “moving in slow motion" at the first CTD, but  the usual pre-dawn rhythm quickly set in, followed by two glider deployments, and then another CTD after that. 

The last rays of sunlight disappear behind the clouds the night before the first pre-dawn.

Sunset was quickly followed by many scientists disappearing as well to rest a few hours
 before the early CTD. Photo: Chata Seguro

The deployment of the sea-gliders later in the morning, appeared to act as a big colourful toy for the local dolphins as a large school of them, including baby dolphins, appeared on the horizon just after the glider deployment. They remained around during breakfast, but unfortunately, I did not manage to take any photos. Soon after breakfast, I decided to try a  trick that worked well one night during the cruise last November - to whistle to them! And .... they came! But once the large yellow toy disappeared under the waves, the dolphins  couldn't find anything interesting to play with, so they left as fast as they came. To my disappointment, no photos, but still great to see them coming after just a few whistles! It is thanks to Charlotte Williams, a physical oceanographer, that I am able to post a picture of dolphins playing around during the glider deployment (picture below)


Dophins playing around the Seaglider and ship.
Photo by: Charlotte Williams.

Dophins playing around the RRS Discovery.
Photo by: Charlotte Williams.

Apart from seeing the playful dolphins, it is always great to see scientists in action. James Fox and myself (both PhD students) enjoy comparing how our daily peaks of photosynthesis and oxygen production match on our instruments, which are set up next to one another in the main laboratory of the ship.

A few minutes ago, there was another call for another CTD and scientists were already queuing to sample the CTD. Suddenly, Robin (our NMF technician) shouted: "three, two, one … go!" It is the Central Celtic Sea and we were ready!

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