Edge of the Arctic Shelf
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A quartet of glaucous gulls takes flight.
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Daily Update

Dispatch 14 - September 14, 2004
By C. A. Linder

Weather conditions: Overcast skies, snow flurries, 15 kt winds, 3-5 ft seas, air temperature 33°F

El Copepodito
They call him "El Copepodito" (little copepod). His real name is Leopoldo Llinas, and his mission on this cruise is to collect tiny marine animals called copepods, which are a type of zooplankton. Leo is a graduate student at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in Miami, Florida. He is studying the distribution and abundance of copepods and other zooplankton in the Western Arctic Ocean. Specifically, he is interested in the advection (movement) of large-bodied copepods from the Bering Sea and Canada Basin onto the Chukchi and Beaufort shelves.

Leopoldo is using a device called a MultiNet to catch the zooplankton. As the name indicates, several different nets are all connected to the same frame. The MultiNet allows Leopoldo to collect plants and animals from different levels of the water column, since different species live in different water masses at different depths. When the cod ends (collection jars) are brought onboard, he examines the copepods under a microscope and then preserves the animals in ethanol for future molecular analysis or in formalin for counting.

Leo pulls in the multi-net.
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How do copepods fit into the Arctic food web?
"Large populations of birds, walrus, seals, polar bears and whales inhabit the Chukchi and Beaufort shelves. Copepods transported from the deep adjacent Arctic Ocean basin and Bering Sea basin onto the Chukchi and Beaufort shelves are at one of the bases of the food web that supports these organisms. In short, copepods are an essential link between primary productivity (phytoplankton) and upper trophic levels such as birds, fish and baleen whales. "

Science Crew Facts

Leopoldo Llinas was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. He came to the states 4 years ago to finish his undergraduate degree in Marine Sciences. His favorite place is the Arctic.

Has anything you have collected so far surprised you?
"I was surprised by what I found on the Beaufort Slope, near the WHOI moorings. In the upper levels of the water column, I caught a very large amount of tiny marine plants called phytoplankton. It was very thick, like pea soup."

We have received a great question from Benito in Torrejòn de Ardoz, Spain.
How do you feel when you are not able to recover an instrument, such as the arctic winch?

Since the arctic winch is one of Bob Pickart's instruments, I asked him to reply to this question:
"That's an excellent question. To answer it I have to give you a bit of background. One of the challenging aspects about putting moored instruments in the Arctic is the danger from ice ridging. When pack ice collides and deforms you can often get deep ice "keels", i.e. a region where the ice extends far down into the water. In our working area it is not unheard of to have ice keels extend 30-35m below the surface. Hence, we made sure not to have the top portion of our moorings extend any shallower than this. The downside of this, however, is that we miss out on some interesting science. So last year I decided to try an experiment whereby we attach a buoyant float to the top of one of our moorings in order to sample this remaining part of the water column. The float contained scientific sensors and was connected to a spool of line. Twice a day the spool would release and the float would rise to the sea surface---or the bottom of the ice---then winch itself back down to the mooring (hence the term "Arctic Winch"). I was extremely excited about the prospect of measuring this part of the upper Arctic, as were the engineers who built the device, but at the same time we knew it was risky. So it was with considerable disappointment that we discovered the Arctic winch was missing. I don't know if it got stuck in the ice, but we will at least have a record of when it broke by examining the engineering data in the motor of the winch. We also learned a lesson: the next generation of the instrument will have the ability to transfer its scientific data to the mooring after each round trip. This way, if the float breaks, we will at least have the information up to that point. As a final note, I would like to say that I believe in pushing the boundaries in order to learn new things in the field, and consequently I have taken risks throughout my career. Not all of them have worked out, but when they do it is extremely exciting and rewarding---and brings us a little closer to figuring out some of the mysteries of the ocean."

A Barrow Canyon euphausid swims in a droplet of water. This tiny creature is about the size of a fingernail.
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This evening as our myriad instruments were going over the side to collect data on the Arctic, the sun made a brief appearance and lit up the waves. It looked like more of a painting to me than reality, the shades of blue subtle like a Monet painting. It was a gentle reminder that we were in a place of incredible beauty. The sampling will continue through the night, and tomorrow we should be on our way to the north for more mooring recoveries and CTDs.

Traducido al Español por Mifaya

El Copepodito
Le llaman el Copepodito pero su verdadero nombre es Leopoldo Llinas, y su mision en esta expedicion es recoger pequenos animalitos llamados copepodos pertenecientes al zooplancton.Leo ha estudiado en la Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science de Miami, Florida. Esta estudiando la distribucion y abundancia de los copepodos y otro tipo de zooplancton en la parte occidental del oceano Artico.Esta especialmente interesado en el movimiento advectivo de grandes copepodos desde el Mar de Bering y la Cuenca Canadiense hacia las plataformas del Mar de Chukchi y del Mar de Beaufort.

Esta utilizando un instrumento llamado MultiNet para atrapar el zooplancton. Como el nombre indica, se trata de muchas redes conectadas al mismo aparato que le permiten recolectar animales y plantas a diferntes niveles de la columna de agua, ya que las diferentes especies viven a distintas profundidades.Cuando termina la recoleccion, los tubos contenedores, a donde vierten las redes, son llevados al interior del laboratorio y Leopoldo examina los copepodos con el microscopio y posteriormente los preserva en etanol,para estudios de genetica, o en formol para recuento.

Que papel juegan los copepodos en las redes troficas del Artico?
"Grandes poblaciones de aves, morsas, focas, osos polares y ballenas viven en las plataformas continetales del Mar de Beaufort y Mar de Chukchi. Los copepodos transportados desde las profundas aguas de la cuencas del Oceano Artico y del Mar de Bering hasta las plataformas continentales de los mares de Chukchi y Beaufort son una de las bases de la cadena trofica de la zona. Los copepodos son un vinculo esencial entre los productores primarios (fitoplancton) y los niveles troficos superiores como aves, peces y ballenas"

Te ha sorprendido algo que hayas recogido?
"Me sorprendio que en la zona del talud del mar de Beaufort, cerca de los moorings de WHOI, encontre enormes cantidades de fitoplancton. Tan densas que el agua parecia una sopa de guisantes"

Hemos recibido una estupenda pregunta de Benito, desde Torejon de Ardoz, Espana:
Hola buenas noches desde España (Torrejòn de Ardoz), yo os quiero preguntar si me lo permitís, ¿qué sentís cuando por accidente no podéis recuperar alguno de estos aparatos (polea artica)?, etc. gracias y muy buenas investigaciones.

Ya que la polea artica es uno de los instrumentos de Bob Pickart, le corresponde a el responder a la pregunta:
"Es una excelente pregunta y para responderla tengo que explicar un poco acerca del tema. Uno de los retos de poner moorings en el Artico es el solapamiento de las masas de hielo de diferentes direcciones.Cuando las masas de hielo colapsan y se deforman normalente encontramos profundos "keels" de hielo,i.e. zonas donde el hielo se extiende mucho en profundidad. En nuestra zona de trabajo no es inusual esncontrar fenomenos de este tipo que alcanzan profundidades de 30-35 m. Para ello, nos aseguramos de que la parte superior del mooring no este a menos de 30-35 metros de la superficie del mar,pero asi se pierde informacion importante. Por ello, el ano pasado decidi probar un experimento en el que atamos una boya de flotacion a la parte superior del mooring para poder muestrear el resto del agua de la columna de agua. Este sistema de flotacion contenia sensores y estaba conectado a una cadena. Dos veces a dia, la cadena se largaba y el sistema subia a la superifie del mar o hasta el hielo, y volvia por si sola hacia el mooring. Yo estaba extremadamente impaciente por el hecho de medir esa zona superficial del Artico ya que nosotros los ingenieros construimos el instrumento, pero al mismo tiempo sabiamos que era arriesgado.Asi que fue muy desiluisonante descubrir que este aparato habia desaparecido.No sabemos si quedo atrapado en el hielo,pero al menos sabemos cuando ocurrio, examinando los datos recogidos en el motor de la polea.Tambien aprendimos una leccion: los proximos instrumentos de este tipo tendran la habilidad de transmitir los datos al mooring, cada ronda. Asi, si el sistema se rompe, por lo menos tendremos la informacion hasta ese momento. Como nota final me gustaria decir que yo creo en la expansion de las fronteras del conocimento para aprender nuevas cosas en este campo, y consecuentemente, he tomado riesgos a lo largo de mi carrera. No todos han funcionado, pero cuando lo hacen, es extremadamente excitante y reconfortante y nos acerca un poco mas al conocimiento de los misterios del oceano."

Esta tarde, mientras nuestros instrumentos eran lanzados para recoger datos del Artico, el sol hizo una breve aparicion e ilumino las olas. Parecia mas una pintura que la realidad, las tonalidades azules como un cuadro de Monet. Fue un dulce recordatorio de que estamos en un sitio de una increible belleza. El muestreo continuara durante toda la noche, y manana nos dirigiremos hacia el norte para recoger mas moorings y lanzar mas CTDs.

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