I have the pleasure to kick off the first blog as part of the North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES) Cruise #1. This project will span 5 years with a goal to resolve key processes controlling ocean system function, their influences on atmospheric aerosols, and clouds and their implications for climate. There will be 4 month long cruises that occur over the next 5 years at different times of year, with data collected from ship and aircraft measurements, as well as satellite data.
Personally, this is a really exciting endeavor. I am a brand new Assistant Scientist at the University of Georgia, housed at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. This study will provide me with an unparalleled opportunity to ask and gain insight on fundamental questions about the biology of the North Atlantic while interfacing with world-class oceanographers, a unique opportunity for any new faculty member. My part of the research will be investigating how mortality of phytoplankton (single-celled photosynthetic algae) is partitioned between grazing by microzooplankton (single-celled herbivores) and viruses. The manner in which phytoplankton die can have significant impacts on the cycling of carbon and nutrients in the ocean. Understanding the pathways of mortality in this system can enhance our ability to predict the mechanisms of phytoplankton accumulation in the North Atlantic, as well as overall implications for the climate. I will put up another post as things get going with more scientific details about how my research is progressing while at sea.
For the past several weeks everyone on the NAAMES team has been packing and getting ready for our first expedition that departs in early November. This requires packing up equipment in the laboratory, ordering needed materials, shipping it to the ship, and organizing all the necessary things for a successful research cruise. This will be a month long cruise, so it is essential that we have everything we need. No one wants to be out in the middle of the ocean and realize they didn’t bring enough filters. I can only speak for the ship side of things, but I am sure the aircraft group is also mustering their gear and supplies as well.
One important component to any successful oceanographic research expedition is making sure you have the right gear for any weather condition. We will be in the North Atlantic in November, so it will likely be cold and rough seas. Along with winter gear, I need to make sure I have proper foul weather gear, see here:
I don’t think I will win any competitions, but I will be dry!
Be on the look out here for more information regarding the NAAMES cruise #1 and the NAAMES project overall. Once we are at sea we will be updating this blog more regularly, keeping everyone informed of what we are doing, and how things are going. I think I speak for most people involved in this project, we are all excited to get on the ship and get started!