The Summer 2019 cruise aboard R/V Sikuliaq has begun. 2019 is the 50th consecutive year of samples taken at oceanographic station GAK1 (begun December 1970) and the 23nd consecutive year of Seward Line physical-chemical-phytoplankton-zooplankton-seabird sampling. However, many new things are happening too.
One of our special studies involves several days of high-resolution sampling of the Copper River discharge plume. We suspect this plume is a source of iron (and other nutrients), therefore driving some of the high productivity in the Gulf of Alaska. To investigate this, we’ll be deploying drifters, making maps of data along the plume edge, and performing incubation growth experiment using both shelf and offshore water.
In addition, the Gulf of Alaska Ecosystem Observatory (GEO) is being deployed this week. During the next year, it will report oceanographic conditions in real-time. The GEO moorings will provide the NGA LTER program with year-long data about conditions in the Gulf, so we can know what is happening even when we can’t be there. Two of the three moorings in the array report real-time data on ocean surface conditions. You can view data from these moorings in the Ocean Data Explorer system provided by AOOS and Axiom Data Science:
Five Research Experience for Undergraduate students are also aboard. Most of their time is spent in the labs at UAF and WWU, but for a few weeks, they are experiencing life at sea. They are:
- Adrianna, working with Russ Hopcroft (UAF),
- Kate, working with Russ Hopcroft (UAF),
- Ayanda, working with Seth Danielson (UAF),
- Delphina, working with Suzanne Strom (WWU), and
- Kelsie, working with Ana Aguilar-Islas (UAF).
Participants are also updating several blogs about their work.
- The Strom Lab describes their work with plankton (especially heterotrophs) in The Planktonic Life
- Catherine (Cat) Fuller describes her experiences in her Teacher at Sea Blog.
Internet communication with ships in the Gulf of Alaska is spotty, but these blogs will be updated as often as possible. Katie Gavenus’s completed blog from the Spring cruise gives even more insight into our work.