Greetings from the Bay of Naples. Yes that is correct, we should have been sampling at station #19 this morning, but late yesterday afternoon we had an electrical malfunction on the CTD. The head of our expedition, Giorgio
Budillon, announced we would be returning to Naples where we could get thenecessary equipment to make the repairs, or make an exchange. It was along journey back, 11 hours, as we were right in the middle of the
Tyrrhenian Sea. It was a strange day, the sea surface resembled a lake,absolutely flat, it mirrored the sky, as far as the eyes could see. We had a spectacular sunset, and eventually the sky and sea merged into one,
completely undistinguishable, one from the other.
|One thing very much struck me in this area: the amount of debris, which floated by every five or ten minutes, mostly plastic bags of every variety, plus grocery, cups, styrofoam lids, disposable diapers. For me it was a shocking sight, that so much trash should be floating in the middle of what seemed like nowhere.
Back to science, one issue which our research cruise is studying is the micro plankton diversity patterns of the southern Tyrrhenian area up to the Sardinian channel. This is one key indicator of large-scale atmospheric variations in the western Mediterranean basin. So tests are conducted to identify some of the processes as well as gradients of phytoplankton productivity in size fractions of: micro, nano, and pico, as well as microbial respiration. Included in this analysis are chemical and biochemical factors such as gradients of dissolved oxygen, N and P availability, concentrations of dissolved and particulate organic carbon plus concentration of photosynthetic pigments such as chlorophyll a by HPLC and fluorescence, in different size fractions.
Franco Decembrini and I discussed how the sampling stations were selected. He explained that some stations are better for benthic sampling, others for hydrological studies. There are still other stations which are fixed points, being used by marine researchers of different disciplines. Much depends also on the available sunlight, which is important for some of the studies - but not all - being carried out and on the time required for the ship to reach each station.
Well it is mid-day now and we are on our way back to station #19 and # 20, two important stations to our campaign.
That’s it for now, I am Siri Campbell reporting from the CIESM SUB 1 cruise