Posted on EPOCA: 13 Aug 2012 — This blog chronologs the Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Research Vessel New Horizon on a 25-day cruise to the northeast Pacific. Posted by Dr. Gareth Lawson.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 9, 2012
First Post of a New Cruise
This year we’ll be doing the same kind of sampling but now in the northeast Pacific, where the ocean’s chemistry is very different. Global patterns of flow in the deep waters that fill the ocean basins lead to waters in the Pacific being much more acidic than in the Atlantic (more on this in a later post). We are capitalizing on these differences between the oceans as what we call a ‘natural experiment’ — unlike in a laboratory experiment where we can manipulate the conditions experienced by lab animals, manipulating conditions in the ocean is much harder. Biologists therefore often look for cases where nature provides different kinds of conditions in order to compare how animals respond. By comparing how pteropods respond to the seawater chemistry of the Pacific relative to the Atlantic, and at different latitudes within each of those oceans, we hope to gain some insight into how pteropods might respond to the changing chemistry of the ocean predicted for coming decades.
Right now we’ve made a course for the starting point of our survey at 50N 150W, which is about 675 nautical miles (about 776 regular miles) due south of Anchorage, Alaska. From there we’ll run our survey towards the southeast, ultimately ending at 35N 135W and heading in to San Diego where our cruise will end on September 2. It will take us 5 days to cover the 1105 nautical miles to the transect’s starting point, giving us lots of time to get the instruments ready and overcome any seasickness.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting about pteropods and marine ecology, chemistry and ocean acidification, and life at sea generally, along with plenty of photographs and hopefully some video. Tune back in soon!
Charismatic Microfauna blog, 9 August 2012. Blog URL.