The first scientific article resulting from our field study in 2017 is published: https://rdcu.be/bh7TV
We show that the red color we observed by satellite can be attributed to pigments of the small (ca. 3 mm) crustacean Calanus finmarchicus
This will help us to learn much more about the regularity of zooplankton patches. How often do large surface patches occur? Do they follow the phytoplankton bloom? Are they purely shaped by oceanic currents? All these questions, which have been very difficult to answer based on traditional sampling methods, will now be much more easy to understand.
A short report about our project on TV, watch it here. It’s in Norwegian, but contains an interesting satellite images showing a very large zooplankton patch, plus some footage from our cruises.
Every year in autumn there is a week of research days in Norway, when people can learn about ongoing research at universities and elsewhere.
This year, amongst other things kids and pupils could find out how plankton aggregates, and how the zooplankton Calanus finmarchicus avoids predation by fish.
During this years research cruise from 16-27 June we performed sampling along 6 transects and at 18 stations, using a variety of sampling instruments. See who participated at the intense sampling here.
Our first study area was off the coast of Vesterålen islands, where we found high numbers of our key study species, the copepod Calanus finmarchicus.
After completing sampling there, we moved to study patches of this species at Tromsøflaket, a known fishing hot spot.
Lot’s of CO2 related research is happening at the University of Tromsø. Read more about it here, or, if you are in Tromsø, you can visit the Vitensenteret during the CO2 days 13-14 April.
We just came back from a very successful cruise to the area outside Lofoten-Vesterålen islands, where we were looking for (and finding!) patches of the small zooplankton Calanus finmarchicus. View some pictures in the gallery.
Researches from Oregon State University have been able to film blue whales gulping swarms of krill:
But which swarm is worth feeding on from the whales’ perspective?
“Every time a blue whale opens its mouth, it’s like putting on the brakes, it slows way down so these animals have to make decisions about what’s worth opening their mouth for.” says Dr. Torres.
And from the planktons´ perspective, what is the benefit of forming swarms when it apparently does not yield protection from predators? This is a question we are going to address during Sea Patches.
After our successful Kick-Off meeting 15 March in Tromsø, we are now getting ready for our first cruise that will take place 27 April to 4 May in the region off the Lofoten and Vesterålen islands. Busy packing equipment!