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  • Writer's pictureIanna Luna

Proxies to elucidate an eddie's life history

An essential part of studying eddies is their biogeochemical characterization. Thanks to the high resolution of this study, we’re able to closely observe the distribution of different properties and parameters, be that within the eddie’s cores, or their borders, which interact with the borders of other eddies.

Chlorophyll a map from satellite observation with the sampling stations of the biogeochemical transect

The identity of an eddy is built according to its physical dynamics, which may make it cyclonic or anticyclonic. Each type has a clear vertical, and horizontal, distribution of different parameters. Primary productivity is probably one of the most descriptive of these characteristics. This is why we collect samples of chlorophyll-a: It allows us to scale PP and estimate phytoplankton biomass. This is a fundamental feature of biological organization and coupled with the information obtained from our DNA samples, the structure of the community within the eddy becomes illustrated, not just according to the use of nutrients along the water column, but also genetically.

Laura analysing primary production samples with LabSTAF

Another crucial process inside an eddy is nutrient and organic matter transport. Here’s where our ETS (electron transport system) and organic matter (both dissolved and particulate) samples come in. Once we analyze these in the lab, we’ll be able to quantify respiration within the community and nutrient use. This is important to understand because it gives us an idea about the remineralization of carbon, and therefore of carbon flux dynamics.

Through the hard work of our expert mussels, better known as the filtrations team, on board R/V Sarmiento de Gamboa, hundreds of liters of water and frozen filters with tiny pores will unveil the secrets of Bentayga and its interactions with the surrounding oceanic physical structures.

Filtration team working on their first rosette

PS. Being on land knowing Sarmiento de Gamboa is carrying an excellent scientific team is both a comfort and a pity, but only because I wish I was with you all catching those breath taking sunrises and sunsets. Miss you guys! Buena mar to you all. Also, dear Pepe, I miss your boots.

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