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:
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.
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:
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:
We got up before sunrise every morning to collect water as deep as 600m using a CTD rosette:
Kelsey was adamant about watching every sunrise:
Like most oceanographic cruises, we spent a lot of time filtering seawater:
And more filtering (do we ever do anything else?):
This area of the ocean is called the Sargasso Sea for all of the Sargassum seaweed floating on the surface:
Of course no trip to Bermuda can be complete without visiting one of its beautiful beaches:
After 10 days at sea, we all made it back safely. Take that Bermuda Triangle!