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  • Writer's pictureLucía Palacios

The first sampling

On November 16, we began the first sampling of the cruise, beginning with a time series to study the center of the eddy for 24 hours. We were all excited to have samples after 9 days of waiting, after the intense physical study of the eddy with the SeaSoar and ADCP.

Thanks to the collaboration of researchers from different centers and universities, this cruise has a multidisciplinary approach. We have the team from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, with scientists from groups of biological, physical and chemical oceanography; researchers from the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) in Vigo and Granada and a researcher from the IEO (Spanish Institute of Oceanography) in A Coruña. In addition, there are PhD and post-doc researchers from the University of Southern California and the Ocean Bridges group of the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography.

Although it was a long day, we want to give you a summary so that you can understand what an oceanographer's day looks like in a scientific cruise. First thing in the morning we prepared the sediment traps, which are an equipment used to capture the sediment suspended in the water column that settles from the surface to 200 meters. These traps are placed with a buoy near the center of the eddy where they are left for 24 hours so they can collect enough sediment.

Javier, Aja and Mar ready to launch the first sediment traps of the cruise

Nacho, Andrés and Javier recovering the sediment traps after 24 hours at sea

Next step was to launch the rosette sampler, which is the most known oceanographic equipment that allows us to take water samples at different depths, which in our case cover a wide range from 1,500 meters to the surface. When the rosette rises, sampling madness begins, and all the researchers gather around it to get the water they need to analyze their specific parameter. All this water translates into many vials that collect small samples and a great amount of filtered water that allows to concentrate the sample in a filter, to be later analyzed on land.

Álvaro, Rubén, Pepe and Pepelu sampling the first rosette of the cruise

The first rosette of the cruise goes into the water

Then comes the launch of the Marine Snow Catcher, which is a large-volume oceanographic bottle used to collect samples of marine snow and facilitate the study of the distribution of these particles in the water column, also being able to analyze the speed of fall of the particles as a function of weight.

Pepe, Gero, Elena and Abisai launching the first Snow Catcher

Lastly, we launched the MOCNESS (Multiple Opening and Closing Net, with an Environmental Sensing System), which is a battery of net panels with meshes of different sizes that include sensors that allow us to know the depth, temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll. Each net can be opened and closed independently to sample a discrete area of ​​water at desired depths.

The MOCNESS ready to enter the water

With this we end the day and continue towards the biogeochemical transect where we currently are, crossing the center of the Bentayga eddie, making a total of 27 stations, which will give us a small-scale characterization of the eddie.

The transect points with cute logos made by our computer expert Jose

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