Dr Adrian Martin, CUSTARD Principal Scientist, National Oceanography Centre, UK
At present Discovery is back in Punta Arenas with research expedition DY111 complete. We managed to get an enormous amount done and the data should keep us happy making sense of it all for a couple of years. A big reason for the success was the Captain and ship’s company, as well as the fantastic team from NMF, so a huge thank you to them all!
We were extremely lucky with our timing too, arriving just on the cusp of spring and being there to capture its impact as it a phytoplankton bloom swept across the region. It’ll be frustrating waiting until mid March for our samples to get back to UK on board the RRS Discovery and even then some of them will take several months more to process. Science requires patience sometimes. Hopefully, though, together with the data we collected from the buoy sensors and gliders throughout the year we’ll get exciting new insights into how the Southern Ocean is storing carbon.
Time lapse satellite images above showing Ch-a signal of phytoplankton bloom over 2 week period in Southern Ocean – courtesy of NEODASS
All but three members of the science team (and what a team they were) have now left, but a group from WHOI have joined the remaining trio. DY111 may be done but DY112 is poised to leave and the WHOI team are onboard with the specific task of retrieving the mooring and all the sensors attached to it, hopefully full to the gills with yet more data. Being scientists we also won’t resist the chance to collect a few more samples should we get the chance. You can’t have too much after all.
So stay tuned for updates from DY112 on our blogs and twitter regarding retrieval of the ocean mooring and life onboard the RRS Discovery over the next couple of weeks.