How do we science? / Science / Technology

Field Photos: Bermuda Cruise

This summer UnderTheC alum, Kelsey Ellis, and I joined the Cassar Lab from Duke University for a research cruise out of Bermuda. This was our cruise track which has striking resemblance to the Bermuda Triangle so naturally we were a little concerned about returning:

cruise-track

 

The ship was the R/V Atlantic Explorer owned by the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS). It is 171′ ft long and carries 34 people.

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The main objective was to test new instrumentation and collect measurements of nitrogen fixation, the conversion of nitrogen gas to ammonium which can then be used by other organisms as a source of organic nitrogen, but we supplemented this with a large amount of other sample collection.

To collect water, we used a ‘towfish’ which is essentially a torpedo-shaped device connected to tubing and a pump. We put this out in the water on a crane to avoid metal contamination from the ship:

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It is extremely easy to contaminate seawater with trace metals such as iron so extra steps had to be taken. To measure metals, we needed to make a clean ‘bubble’ on the ship and wear tyvex suits:

Aridane in the bubble

Aridane in the bubble

 

We got up before sunrise every morning to collect water as deep as 600m using a CTD rosette:

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Kelsey was adamant about watching every sunrise:

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Like most oceanographic cruises, we spent a lot of time filtering seawater:

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And more filtering (do we ever do anything else?):

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This area of the ocean is called the Sargasso Sea for all of the Sargassum seaweed floating on the surface:

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Of course no trip to Bermuda can be complete without visiting one of its beautiful beaches:

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After 10 days at sea, we all made it back safely. Take that Bermuda Triangle!

 

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