Right now, we are planning our next cruise which will be aboard the R/V Sikuliaq in mid-April 2018. There are a lot of elements that must be balanced when planning a cruise. Of course, time, money (including that for processing samples later on shore), and the program objectives all influence the cruise plan, but there are many other facets to consider.
For one thing, there are logistical elements that limit where the cruise must start and in what order the stations will happen. These include:
- Towing for zooplankton must be done during the day, when they are high enough in the water column to catch
- Productivity experiments must be done during the day when there is sunlight
- Time spent traveling between sampling locations (deadheading) must be minimized
- Equipment and personnel must be delivered to and retrieved from the ship
In addition, we must incorporate elements of previous studies to insure continuity between measurements:
- EcoFOCI sampling stations over the productive sub-marine banks
- Prince William Sound stations (which can’t be in the shipping lanes)
- The timing of Seward Line stations with respect to the Spring Bloom
And unfortunately, bad weather can impact the best made plans.