Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton
When I first set foot on the old Royal Research Ship Discovery in 1979 in Cape Town I had little idea that in 2015 I would be on the Discovery once again but now on the most recent version of the vessel to carry this famous name.
I am interested in the chemistry of the ocean and how chemical processes affect the biology and other parts of the marine system. This aspect of oceanography is important in terms of understanding how the sea works and can be impacted by climate change.
On this trip we are studying where the essential nutrient iron comes from on the shelf and how it may move away into the open ocean. In some areas the element is at such low concentrations that it limits plant growth and thus impacts ecosystems, so it is important to know where it comes from, and one potentially important source are the edges of shelf seas.
Whilst frequently demanding with long working hours I always enjoy the times at sea with the wide range of people on board, the constant challenges to be dealt with and the buzz when a long planned experiment finally works out. Whilst new techniques such as satellites and gliders are developing rapidly, ships are still essential tools in the study of the oceans. Discovery is a world-class research platform for UK marine science that will support our new generation of oceanographers into the future.