Sunday, 4 October 2015

2:47 pm local time

Sunday, October 4, 2015

CCGS Amundsen, Lancaster Sound



Last night, we all went up to the Bridge. Little yellow helmets dotted the foredeck bellow, crowded around the sampling equipment. We watched from above as they deployed the Rosette, the Box Corer, the Tucker Net and other equipment to bring up different samples; each piece collects different aspects of the ecosystem. The last bit of light fled the sky by 10:00 pm, but large lights hit the deck and the surrounding water. I thought I saw a bird swoop towards the water, but it may have just been the edge of a wave.



 Philippe Archambault, the Chief Scientist onboard, was also in the Bridge. We began to ask him questions, and, once we started, our desire to understand gained momentum until there was no lapse in conversation. The languages switched, even within each sentence. He explained the equipment:



Tucker Net:

- Samples organisms fr. Oceans (various levels) in a water column (vertical).

- Mostly zooplankton and juvenile fish species.


Box Corer:

- Collects undisrupted sample of sea floor + organisms using box + “spoon” to seal.



- Collects water samples at a predetermined depth.



He also told us that the organisms at the bottom of the ocean aren’t getting the same nutrients that they have in the past. Traditional organisms aren’t getting all they need, and invasive species are thriving. Lancaster Sound, where we are conducting much of the sampling, is the “Serengeti of the Arctic” due to the huge diversity of life.


This morning, Philippe gave us a lecture on an overview of the Arctic. He talked about what a complex system it is, and the importance of the loss of biodiversity.

Is the Arctic low in biodiversity? No! It is comparable to both the west and east coasts of Canada even though there is much less data.

In studying the north, the effect on the whole biosphere is clear. “We realize that everything is really connected.” Said Philippe.

Tonight we head out for our first sampling operation which could last until midnight. The excitement levels are running high onboard the Amundsen!

Lots of love,
Tara xx


1 comment:

  1. You're really helping me to get a feel for how sensitive and vulnerable the arctic ecosystem is at every vertical dimension from seabed to atmosphere. I'm glad you're able to see this directly Tara. Such a privilege. Do you think you'll be able to discover connections between what the scientists are researching and your curiosity about narwhals?