There are a total of 25 scientists and engineers in the “scientific party” of this cruise. Each of us has a specific role to play, focussing on the measurements and instruments relevant to our own specialisms. We are distributed around the many labs and work spaces on the ship, and this post will give you an idea of who we all are. Later posts will explain more about the work that each team does on the ship.
At the centre of all things science is the one person who knows what everyone is doing and can be found in any of the labs, the principal scientist, Brian King. Brian is our leader, font of knowledge and chief decision maker. He is also a member of Team Physics.
Team Physics inhabits the UIC (Underway Instrumentation and Control) Room, which acts as the science operational centre. Charts and plans for the work are laid out for everyone to see and discuss, so it usual to see a huddle of scientists talking intently around the chart table. We are the coordinators of the cruise, so key notices for scientists are displayed here, updated every day to give everyone an idea of when the next piece of work will start. The physicists record temperature, salinity, oxygen, currents, water depth and meteorological things like wind speed and air temperature.
Team Carbon can be found squeezed into a corner of the Main Lab, and in the Wet Lab just off the aft deck. Between them they measure a whole range of carbon-related things at the ocean surface and from the depths of the ocean at stations (total carbon, alkalinity, ammonia and pH). Also in the Main Lab, and in the Bio Lab is Team Nutrients/Oxygen. These guys measure the amount of dissolved oxygen and nutrients (phosphate, nitrate/nitrite and silicate) in the water samples. Somehow we have also managed to squeeze in Ian who measures methane and nitrous oxide in sea water, and Bita who will measure chlorophyll, dissolved organic matter and surfactants.
Team CFCs work in a container lab on the aft deck, and in a tiny room called the chemistry lab, just off the starboard deck. Both spaces are crammed full of instruments with barely room to move. The team measures tiny concentrations of human-made chemicals called CFCs in the deep ocean seawater.
Last but not least, we have our engineers Andy, Seth and John, who look after a wide range of instruments and computers, and generally rescue the scientists when things go wrong.
Image: the scientific party on JR302. The acronyms are the names of the programmes that this cruise is contributing to: OSNAP which is the focus of this blog, RAGNARoCC which is looking at carbon storage and fluxes, and Extended Ellett Line, which is a programme to look at long-term changes in the eastern subpolar North Atlantic.
Penny Holliday (Team Physics)