Friday, November 16, 2012

BATS 287 Days 1, 2 and 3

Hi from the R/V Atlantic Explorer! It is day three of the 287th BATS cruise. I’m Joanna and I work as a research technician for the Bermuda Atlantic Time Series Study. The Bermuda Atlantic Time Series Study (BATS) started monthly sampling in October 1988. Cruises generally last between 5-6 days and occur on a biweekly to monthly basis. The aim of the time series is to enhance the understanding of the role of oceans in the global carbon budget. It also aims to improve the knowledge about the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems. You can find more information about the study on the bios website. 

The chief scientist on this cruise is Dr Rodney Johnson. We set sail at 7am on Tuesday morning with the aim of sampling at Hydrostation S, however due to bad sea conditions the cruise schedule had to be altered and we headed straight to the BATS site. It took us around 14hours to reach the BATS site due to the bad weather so most of the day was spent either sleeping or reading! We managed to fit in two zooplankton night tows upon arrival at BATS. On Wednesday we deployed the sediment trap array which will remain at 150, 200 and 300m for around 72 hours before recovery. The seas were still slightly choppy and we had a few showers but the deployment went well and we will recover the traps on Saturday. 

The sediment traps before being deployed in the rain

Today was production day! This is every BATS technician’s favourite day! It’s the busiest day of the six day cruise as we have to be up at 3:30am to start the sampling process. Thankfully the seas had calmed down by now which made the deployment much easier. On production day we monitor the amount of production through photosynthesis that has occurred from dawn to dusk in seawater samples at various depths on a floating array. The deployment of the array has to occur before sunrise and be recovered after sunset so that we can monitor the total daily production rate.  After the deployment in the morning we followed the floating array around the Atlantic for the day and after sunset we recovered and analysed the samples. Whilst the array was at sea we took a shallow core CTD cast and various water samples. Luckily the seas were now calmer and the sun was shining which makes the sampling process much more enjoyable. There was also a whale sighting which was exciting! Unfortunately I didn’t get to see it but I’m on the lookout for more!    

Violetta with the production day cruise schedule

The production floating array

Now were off to bed as it’s been a long but very successful day. Tomorrow we are deploying several plankton tows so hopefully we will find some interesting marine creatures!