MOBYDICK – Marine Ecosystem Biodiversity and Dynamics of Carbon around Kerguelen: an integrated view

FIRST OBSERVATIONS: SURPRISE, SURPRISE!

The RV Marion Dufresne rounded Kerguelen by the end of Sunday 25 February. Unfortunately, we will not be able to sightseeing around the archipelago while the vessel headed South for the first long term station of the expedition. From Monday over 48 hours several vertical profiles were performed with the instrumented rosette sampler, interspersed by pelagic trawling, plankton nets, and in situ pumps’ deployments. Program has been interrupted yesterday morning Tuesday 27 february due to bad weather conditions (40 knots mean wind speed with gusts up to 50 knots, up to six meter high waves, a sole alternative: stand–by for 12 hours). In the afternoon operations resumed and the night pelagic trawls brought their share of surprises with an abundance of amphipodes (small pelagic crustaceans of the species Themisto gaudichaudi), salps (pelagic filter–feeders of the species Salpa thompsoni), and lantern–fishes of the myctophid family. The birds are still accompanying our trip while by the end of the afternoon 7 whales payed us a visit… The biodiversity is definitely there and even phytoplankton et microzooplankton are part of it…

Night launching of the pelagic trawl…
Plagiotropis sp., Corethron inerme, and Eucampia antarctica, the "big guys" of the phytoplanktonic diatom community…
Themisto gaudichaudi, key-species of the ecosystem of the Kerguelen plateau…
... and one of the whales seen too quickly ...

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