23rd AMT research cruise sets sail

23rd AMT research cruise sets sail

The 23rd Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT) research cruise will be leaving Portsmouth early next week with PML scientists on-board, spending 5 weeks sailing the Atlantic to arrive in the Falklands 08 November.

AMT is an inter-disciplinary scientific programme that undertakes biological, chemical and physical oceanographic research during an annual voyage between the UK and destinations in the South Atlantic; a distance of up to 13,500km. This journey crosses a range of marine ecosystems from sub-polar to tropical and from shelf seas and upwelling systems to mid-ocean gyres.

The AMT crew perform on-going measurements of the oceanic conditions ofRecover of a self-recording current meter suspended beneath a time-lapse multi-sample sediment trap the Atlantic, such as chlorophyll, sea surface temperature, nutrients, optical properties, dissolved gases (including carbon dioxide and nitrogen) and plankton community structure.

This year’s cruise has 19 scientists in total, 7 from PML and others from NOC Southampton, British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC), University of York, University of Vigo (Spain), University of Warwick and University of East Anglia. Also, for the last six years the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) has funded a berth for a scientist from a developing country to join the expedition to learn monitoring techniques aboard a large research vessel. This year it is Ankita Misra from the National Institute of Oceanography in India with a project entitled “Understanding and evaluating the role of the phytoplankton community in the photosynthesis and primary production in the Atlantic Ocean”.

The scientists on-board AMT continue to provide the Earth science discipline with the knowledge base it needs to understand how this ocean is changing and what it might mean for the ecosystem, as well as the wider implications on climate and society. AMT provides one of the few datasets that will be able to highlight significant shifts in the Atlantic’s processes and functions as a result of climate change and other environmental stressors.

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