When you mention to friends back home that you are going on a research cruise, most people think of Jacques Cousteau or The Life Aquatic, or perhaps relaxing on deck in the tropical sun, being served cocktails by stewards. If only!
A typical day on the AMT4SentinelFRM field campaign starts at 03:30 a.m. when the zooplankton team (Erica Goetze from the University of Hawaii, Katjia Peijnenburg, Deborah Wall-Palmer & Lissette Mekkes from the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, The Netherlands) deploy their bongo nets with the help of Richie Phipp (NMF-NOC, UK) to fish for zooplankton, gastropods, pteropods and copepods; the tiny animals that comprise the fish food in the ocean.
Bongo net deployment
The transect of Zooplankton net hauls in the Atlantic tells us about the distribution of these animals, potential genetic barriers to their diversity and, over time, enables us to monitor changes in these communities as a result of sea-surface warming. In addition, Deborah and Lissette are studying the effect of elevated CO2 and decreasing pH under future climate change scenarios on some calcareous species that inhabit the Atlantic Gyres and which form an integral link to the higher mammals and fish that prey on them.
At 4:30 a.m. ...