Copepods from space

The first scientific article resulting from our field study in 2017 is published:

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.


Research Days 2018

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.

Completed this years sampling

Map of Study area

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.

Recent activity

  • March 2018: Sea Patches scientists participated at the ARCTOS research network meeting at Sommarøy, Troms, Norway
  • February 2018: Results were presented at the Ocean Sciences meeting in Portland, Oregon, United States                     
  • January 2018: Annual Project meeting in Tromsø, Norway – planning scientific articles and discussing this years cruise
  • December 2017: Post doc Nicolas Weidberg joined the Sea Patches team
  • October 2017: Workshop on cruise results in Reykjavik, Iceland

See what can happen to plankton swarms

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.