We are finally off!

Where will we fit all these boxes on the ship?!

After much land preparation and several hectic days of ship loading, we finally headed out to sea yesterday on our 2017 CCE-LTER Process Cruise! Our trip out of San Diego Harbor and up to the Channel Islands has been smooth and sunny, allowing us to get our feet under us as we navigate the maze of tunnels and hallways on the 277-ft (aka huge!) R/V Roger Revelle, as well as to test-deploy some of the instruments we will use on our cruise.

 

Tristan Biard collects CTD rosette water sampled from 800 m deep off San Clemente Island.

Some of today’s tests included: two types of CTDs, which measure water column properties (temperature, salinity, clarity, nitrate levels, chlorophyll fluorescence); two types of plankton nets; and a Moving Vessel Profiler (MVP),  a fish-shaped metal instrument that we tow behind the ship to get a 3D profile of the ocean by measuring similar characteristics to CTDs.

 

This Process Cruise marks the beginning of Phase III of the CCE-LTER program. This phase focuses on cross-shore fluxes in the Central and Southern California Current, which means we are interested in how water masses change and evolve as they move from coastal upwelling regions out away from shore.

Preparing the Trace Metal-Clean CTD for deployment. This CTD measures iron levels in the ocean, which means it must be kept completely iron-free – a hard feat on a metal ship!

Our cruise is a collaboration between multiple groups, with representatives from the Ohman, Landry, Barbeau, Aluwihare, Allen and Goericke labs at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Bishop lab at UC Berkeley, and the Stukel lab at Florida State University. We also have several enthusiastic volunteers, some of whom are at sea for the first time. We look forward to learning from each other and working with the ship’s excellent crew to collect valuable science!

We have already pulled up several interesting organisms in our first net tow! The large pinkish tube on the right is a pyrosome colony, and the small clear triangles are siphonophores.

 

Posted by: Laura Lilly, SIO

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