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Dispatch 21 – Land ho, VERTIGO

VERTIGO scientific team assembled on the fantail of the R/V Revelle. Left to right. Seated on deck- Suguru Okamoto, Yao Zhang, Jim Bishop, Sarah Smith, Stephanie Wilson, Steve Pike. Seated in chairs- Damion Kunz, Mary Silver, Debbie Steinberg, Chanda Bertrand, Ken Buesseler, Robert Bidigare, Tilla Roy, Ben Cohen. Standing- Alex Morales, Mark Gall, Kate Barton, Tom Trull, Carl Lamborg, Brent Riemer, Carolyn Walker, John Calderwood, Devin Ruddick, Jim Valdes, Joe Cope, Phil Boyd, Steve Manganini, Mark Elskens, Frederika Eversbach, Steve Bray, Erik Fields, Willy Baeyens, Toru Kobari.

We have had a rare opportunity these last 4 weeks to sample a remote region of the ocean on board the Research Vessel Revelle. We are fortunate to be heading to shore with 1000’s of samples and hard drives full of scientific data. Over the past few days we’ve met to discuss our results and think more about why the plants and animals that live in these waters so efficient at carrying large amounts of carbon and associated elements on sinking particles between the surface ocean and deep sea, for that is the focus of this VERTIGO study. We clearly found our “hot” spot of particulate carbon flux, though it was in a considerably cooler environment temperature-wise than the lower flux waters we sampled last year just north of Hawaii .

In parallel to our science programs you have been reading about, there have been many untold stories about the operation of the R/V Revelle. It is clear that this VERTIGO cruise would not have been such a success without the experience and dedication of Captain Dave Murline and his entire crew. We are also indebted to the Ocean Sciences Division at the U.S. National Science Foundation who have supported this VERTIGO project and our time on the R/V Revelle, as well as the many other Agencies, including the U.S. Department of Energy and international funding sources that supported additional groups from around the world to participate in this project.

When we return to shore, our job is to conduct careful analyses of our samples, looking for biological, chemical and physical clues to solve our carbon flux puzzle. Our job for the next couple of days, is to pack up, clean up and ship out equipment and these precious samples to the many labs around the world that are part of the VERTIGO project. At the moment, everyone is anxious to contact family, friends and colleagues as we hit shore.

Land ho, VERTIGO.
Ken Buesseler