We are now at 75N. Yesterday we encountered rough seas, with winds at approximately 30 meters/second (!!). Some people were more sick than others, but we all managed to pull through and are in good spirits!
The zooplankton teams are getting ready to deploy another CTD, and a few more nets (WP3, WP2, multinet) for biological sampling. The samples taken from these nets will be used for a variety of studies. Two in particular will be assessing zooplankton community composition of small copepods, and behavioral studies of Calanus species (a copepod found in Arctic and sub-Arctic seas).
After we finish sampling, Jon Cohen (University of Delware) will deploy a light sensor into the water. This light sensor measures the bioluminescence of organisms found within these waters. Since organisms can be quite sensitive to non-natural light sources, the R/V Helmer Hanssen will move a bit away from the zooplankton sampling and turn off its exterior lights before deploying the sensor. That way, more of these smaller zooplankton animals will stay closer to the surface of the water, and the sample will be more representative of the polar night.
We plan on being in Van Mijen fjord this evening. Our first scheduled stop is in Longyearbyen on Sunday.
Research activities started immediately after lunch onboard. A CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth sensor for seawater), and two sampling nets (multinet and WB3) provided the first insight into the environmental and biological characteristics of the ocean outside the sheltered continental area. The first crate sent from the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) was opened, and it was like Christmas all over again.
The Arctic ABC technology team (the A in ABC) did not waste any time and setup a mini electronics lab in the instruments room onboard to begin testing the ICE-POPES (electronic sampling devices, which stands for Ice-tethered Platform Cluster for Optical, Physical, and Ecological Sensors, so not the Catholic kind) that will be deployed at Ny Ålesund in Svalbard. We hope that you can appreciate the looks on everyone’s faces–the engineers in charge were happy to see not only that the equipment made it, but that their tools and spare parts were right where they were supposed to be.
After hours of careful packing and labelling (like Jørgen and Bodil show us in the picture), up and down action with the crane, and hand transport of sensitive equipment, the instruments and material for the Arctic ABC cruise are finally on board the research vessel Helmer Hanssen.
The crew and the scientific team meet tomorrow to sail after noon to Longyearbyen in Svalbard. Special thanks go to Evald Nordli who had our equipment organized (as you can note in the photo) for an efficient loading and the vessels crew for their sensitive touch with our much appreciated research devices!
The ‘A‘ in Arctic ABC stands for applied technology. Scientists have developed and will be deploying autonomous drifting sensors in the Arctic sea ice. These sensors will observe and monitor the ice-associated biological communities during the winter (polar night) and spring seasons. Data collected from these sensors will provide a better understanding of how Arctic biological communities will respond to climate change.
In January, the Arctic ABC team will be installing sensors in Ny Ålesund, Svalbard (situated at 78° 55′ N, 11° 56′ E). Artur Zolich and Sturla Haltbakk, researchers from NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) are working with instruments that measure light throughout the year. The data that is harvested from these sensor instruments will be complimentary to the underwater measurements of light for the instruments that will be tested later on in January. Stay tuned!