research expeditions

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 11 August 2011

The RRS James Cook leaving Cork, Ireland

An entry from Alexander Hart our Irish Foreign Vessel Observer.

It’s my responsibility to ensure that any research during JC062 that takes place in Irish waters (i.e., at Goban Spur) is done in an open way.

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 9 August 2011

OTSB (Otter Trawl Semi Balloon) deployment

It’s 6 o’clock in the morning and the entire science party is dressed in brightly coloured waterproofs, steel-capped boots, and hard hats, waiting impatiently in the hanger.

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 5 August 2011

The megacore being brought back on deck

Having joined the research cruise in Cork a few days ago I’ve been settling into my cabin, the new routine and the realization that I will be away at sea for the next four weeks. A bit daunting if you’re a first-timer like me, but everyone has gone out of their way to explain everything and make us welcome.

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 4 August 2011

Deployment of Bathysnap

Today, we have finally arrived on site, which meant it was time to deploy several exciting instruments. This might sound fairly straightforward but in reality it can be quite daunting to watch thousands of pounds worth of equipment being dropped over the side of the ship and the scientists rely on the experience and finesse of the technicians and the crew.

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 3 August 2011

James Cook leaving picturesque Cork on Tuesday 2 August

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 31 July 2011

The megacorer

On Sunday morning we continued megacoring and recovered many samples. As soon as the cores were recovered on deck, the team got to work on their analysis.

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 30 July 2011

Henry Ruhl, Dave White, Brian Bett (NOC), Gordon Paterson (NHM) prepare the box corer for deployment

Today we deployed the US Naval Electronic Lab (USNEL) Box Corer which collects large samples of sediment from the seabed. The corer is lowered by wire into the sea and its design allows a free flow of water through the frame, which helps with a speedy descent.

RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 29 July 2011

Dr Denise Smythe-Wright in her famous yellow gear sets to work on CTD samples

Late last night the team deployed a CTD and as soon as it had been recovered several hours later, we set to work collecting and analysing the samples. We are looking at the composition of the phytoplankton that lives in surface waters and how they might be influenced by climate change.

Porcupine Abyssal Plain: RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 28 July 2011

Adrian Bunting, MetO, with the barnacle-encrusted PAP 1 ODAS buoy

Just after 0700 hrs this morning we began recovery of the PAP 1 sensor array. This includes a Met Office ODAS (Ocean Data Acquisition System) buoy.

Porcupine Abyssal Plain: RRS James Cook cruise 062 – 27 July 2011

Ben Poole operates the double barrel capston to aid recovery of the sediment traps

This morning the technical team used an acoustic release system to free the sediment traps that were deployed at the PAP site from the research vessel Celtic Explorer in September 2010. Principal Scientist Henry Ruhl and Marine Technician Corinne Pebody watched from the bridge until the PAP 3 buoys, on the traps, were spotted.