The first time I went on board the RRS Discovery I was disorientated and a bit worried about the life on board a ship. Some people were working to take on all the research equipment, there were boxes everywhere and the ship seemed to be a labyrinth!
Today our routine of collecting scientific samples has been interrupted by the arrival of the predicted rough weather. We are now heading out towards the deep Atlantic, roughly at the location shown by the red dot on the cruise map.
Today’s blog entry is written by Jeremy Young, University College London, who uses both a normal light microscope and an electron microscope to work out the biodiversity of the phytoplankton at each location and through the bioassays.
On the cruise so far we have already seen large differences in the dominant phytoplankton present in different places. In just the last three days we have seen some places where diatoms dominated, others where coccolithophores dominated, and another where dinoflagellates were the most numerous group (see photograph of a rather beautiful dinoflagellate).
Yesterday evening and today we have enjoyed sunny weather and calm seas, as shown in the photos. Those who were feeling a bit queasy earlier in the trip are now feeling much better. However, we are forecast to be heading into rough weather later in the week, when we will be visiting the most southerly weather forecast areas, Fitzroy and Biscay.
A fundamental prerequisite for ocean acidification work is to accurately measure seawater pH and carbon chemistry. The basic objective of ocean acidification research is to work out the impact of inputting extra carbon dioxide into seawater.
We are now in weather area Rockall, to the west of Ireland. Today has been a gruelling day because, in addition to normal tasks, we also started analysing some of the water we have been carrying with us since Scotland.
As promised yesterday, today’s entry focuses on cold-water corals and is written by Laura Wicks and Sebastian Hennige, who, together with Murray Roberts (all from Heriot-Watt University), are carrying out the work.