Research cruises

The Shelf Sea Biogeochemistry programme comprises a major marine cruise campaign which spans from 2014 to 2015 (see Figure 1).

A satellite image of sea surface temperature in summer on the NW European shelf
Figure 1. A satellite image of sea surface temperature in summer on the NW European shelf. Different temperatures are caused by changes in the balance between physical forces acting on the seawater, which has knock-on effects on the response of the biology. The solid white line shows the area to be used for targeted experiments on physical/biogeochemical processes during research cruises aboard RRS Discovery. The dashed and dotted lines indicate some of the tracks being sampled by our partners. Satellite imagery is courtesy of the NERC Earth Observation Data Acquisition and Analysis Service.

The campaign will consist of 7 core cruises to the marine shelf (and shelf-edge) of the Celtic Sea on board the Natural Environment Research Council’s (NERC) newly-built research ship, RRS Discovery. These cruises will focus on the physics and biogeochemistry of the benthic and pelagic zones of the water column during the course of a phytoplankton bloom. Long-term mooring and glider deployments in the area will be serviced by additional cruises on board the RRS Discovery and RRS James Cook. Core cruises will be supplemented by partner cruises led by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), Irish Marine Institute (MI), Marine Scotland, Bangor University and Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), spanning the shelf seas and shelf-edges around United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

Activities will include coring, Conductivity Temperature and Depth (CTD) deployments, Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCP) surveys, moorings and wire-walker deployments, benthic lander observatories, autonomous gliders and submersible surveys, Marine Snow Catcher particulate matter analysis, plankton net hauls, in-situ sediment flume investigations and laboratory incubations with core and sea water samples.