Fantastic weather today. Winds 5 – 10 knots, and we have lots of blue sky. Other than a long, 2 metre swell you’d have to describe the sea as calm.
We have a group on board, led by Maeve Lohan from the University of
Plymouth, who are going to measure the amount of iron in the sea. Iron
is a nutrient that the microbial plants in the ocean need. It occurs in
the ocean in very small concentrations, and so is a real challenge to
measure. Much of the challenge is because ocean scientists need to make
the measurements from steel ships, so there is huge potential for
contaminating the samples with iron from the ship or our equipment.
The instruments used by the iron scientists are all made from
titanium or plastic, and they do all of their work is a special “clean
lab” on the ship, into which the rest of us are forbidden to go. When
their titanium instruments come on board after collecting water samples,
Maeve and her colleagues rush forward with a bag of polythene gloves
which are all put onto the taps of the sample bottles so that they don’t
get contaminated while on deck.