Monday, March 12, 2012

Trophic BATS: Post # 1 (Day -2)

Greetings Blogosphere!

In just two days, BIOS’ R/V HSBC Atlantic Explorer will embark on a 10 – day research cruise. This particular cruise is the third out of four research cruises stemming from the “Trophic BATS” project, led by Dr. Tammi Richardson (University of South Carolina) with co – primary investigators: Dr. Mike Lomas (BIOS), Dr. Rob Condon (Dauphin Island Sea Lab), and Dr. Susanne Neuer (Arizona State University). The research team of this expedition comprises of these 4 P.I.’s and their respective lab groups (technicians, post-docs, undergrad, and graduate students).

For oceanographers, an early challenge (albeit, a humorous one) is to determine a catchy acronym to pair with the formal title of a newly funded project. For example, this collaborative research is formally titled: Plankton Community Composition and Trophic Interactions as Modifiers of Carbon Export in the Sargasso Sea.

While perfectly descriptive, it’s not the easiest to reference, so we shall go forth with “Trophic BATS” for the remainder of the posts. The BATS acronym refers to the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study, which is an oceanographic time-series that has been continuing on at BBSR/BIOS since 1988. More on that later.

The overarching question for this research is exactly as the stated, formal title (that’s why it’s perfect).

How does plankton community composition and trophic interactions modify carbon export from the euphotic zone?

The hope for this blog, or at least this series of blog spots is to familiarize research at BIOS and with the surrounding oceanographic community. We will be breaking down the key scientific question proposed by this research project, elucidating why these questions exist in ocean science and then how the research team approaches to answer these questions in the field from both a scientific and logistical standpoint. I hope this description entices you to follow along over the next 2 weeks as we describe our research cruise and the science behind it!

Trophic BATS Team, June 2011

Speak with you tomorrow after our gear is loaded and we are ready to set sail!

Doug Bell
Research Technician, Phytoplankton Ecology Lab
Ocean Enthusiast

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