To day and yesterday have been days of packing and meetings summing up the achievements of the cruise while we are steaming towards the Isle of Arran where we hope to find shelter from the wind and swells so we can calibrate the EK60 echosounders on calm sea. I think the scientific work is finished for most groups except for Mick who stands on top of the bridge from dawn to dusk identifying and counting whales and we in the Pelagic Ecology Research Group will do the Ek60 calibration tomorrow to make sure all the acoustic data we have been sampling for last weeks is of good quality.
From a scientific meeting on board where the science of the cruise are summarized.
To day Mick saw among other things a sperm whale close to the ship.
During this cruise we have been researching all different aspects of the ecosystem and physics of the ocean over the Mid Atlantic Ridge. We have studied everything from the small plants (phytoplankton) floating in the surface waters, to the huge whales cruising the oceans. Including the birds flying over the waves, the fish swimming in the water column, and all sorts of invertebrates swimming and floating around in the sea. We have also examined the animals living in, on and just above the ocean floor, from the depths of the valleys to the tops of the seamounts of the Mid Atlantic ridge. To further understand what is going on down there, we have studied the currents and characteristics of the seawater in the area and we have mapped the sea floor. To accomplish all this we have been using high technology ranging from satellites traveling in circum polar orbits around the earth to highly specialized equipment operating at the extreme depths of the seafloor. Hence, this has truly been a multi-discipline cruise and it’s amazing to see all the specialized fields in practice side by side trying to get the big picture of the Mid Atlantic Ridge ecosystem. Still this cruise only gives us a snap shot of what really is going on down there and hence it is with excitement that I wait for more such events, each bringing to shore new knowledge on the mysteries of the ocean.
Pelagic Ecology Research Group
University of St Andrews.