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humpback whale tail

A whale fluke in Antarctica

A humpback whale shows it's tail, or fluke, off shore from the Unites States Antarctic Program's Palmer Station, as the R/V L. M. Gould departs for its first oceanographic station of a month-long cruise off the West Antarctic Peninsula. WHOI Senior Scientist Ken Buesseler and MIT/WHOI Joint Program graduate student Andrew McDonnell are aboard the Gould to study the ocean's biological pump in which phytoplankton, microbes, and zooplankton create and control the flux of sinking particulate matter from the surface waters and into the deep. They will be employing a range of techniques including Thorium-234 measurements to map particle fluxes, underwater imaging of particles and plankton with a Video Plankton Recorder, the collection of sinking particles with drifting arrays of sediment traps, as well as in situ incubations of sinking particles to determine the rates microbial-mediated particle degradation. (Photo by Andrew McDonnell, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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