AMLR 2005 Weekly Report No. 1

17 January 2005

 

1. The U.S. AMLR Program accepted the Russian R/V Yuzhmorgeologiya as ready for the 2005 charter at 0800 on 8 January 2005 in Punta Arenas, Chile. Over the next three days, provisions, equipment and personnel were embarked, laboratories were set up, and instrumentation was installed and tested. The ship departed at 0900 on 11 January 2005 for the U.S. AMLR study area in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. In route to the U.S. AMLR study area, gale force winds were encountered while crossing Drake Passage delaying landfall at Admiralty Bay on King George Island until late 14 January, approximately 12 hours behind schedule. Upon fetching Admiralty Bay, a second low-pressure system packing gale force east winds made initial zodiac operations at Copacabana field camp not possible. The ship anchored in Ezcurra Inlet.

 

2. With much improved weather conditions zodiac operations began the morning of 15 January. Personnel (W. Trivelpiece, S. Woods), provisions, lumber and mail were transferred to the Copacabana field camp and the Polish base Artcowski. In addition the ships new Simrad ES60 multi frequency echosounder was successfully calibrated while at anchor.

 

3. On the evening of 15 January, the ship fetched Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island. Provisions, lumber, mail and personnel (R. Holt, D. Krause, C. Vera, D. Torres) were transferred to the AMLR and INACH (Chilean) Cape Shirreff field camps the following morning 16 January.

 

4. In addition five autonomous instrumented buoys were assembled aboard ship and deployed via Zodiac 6nm off Cape Shirreff successfully. After communications failure and inspection the buoys had to be recovered due to leaks in their main pressure casings.

 

5. On 17 January, a survey of bio-oceanographic conditions in the vicinity of the South Shetland Islands was initiated. The survey area consists of four strata: the West Area north of King George and Livingston Islands; the Elephant Island Area encompassing the northern portion of the South Shetland archipelago; the Joinville Island Area in the western portion of Bransfield Strait; and the South Area in the central portion of Bransfield Strait south of King George and Livingston Islands. Planned order of coverage will be the West Area followed by the Elephant Island Area, the Joinville Island Area, and the South Area.

 

6. Oceanography and meteorology. The Antarctic Polar Front was crossed between latitudes 57 41 S and 61 48 S, with the sea surface temperature dropping from 7.3C to 1.8C and a corresponding decrease in salinity from 34.04 PPT to 33.63 PPT. After crossing the Antarctic Polar front the air temperature dropped from 6C to reach -1C on Friday. The barometer cycled between 981 and 991 millibars, on four occasions, since sailing day. The faulty Licor 2pi PAR sensor was replaced with a new unit and an additional PAR sensor (Biospherical 4pi) was integrated into the SCS system. Strong westerly winds between 30 and 40 knots (peaking 50 knots), swinging to 20 to 40 knot Easterlies on Thursday and dropping to an average of 10 knots on Saturday.

 

7. Phytoplankton. Preliminary testing of equipment shows all sensors working properly, exept for transmissometer (new plug will arrive for Leg II). This year we have added an additional PAR sensor so that we will be measuring light with both scaler and cosine sensors.

 

8. Bird and marine mammal observations. Seabird and mammal observation were collected during transit from Punta Arenas to King George Island. Highlights in the Drake Passage included: Gray-backed Storm Petrel, Common Diving Petrel, Rockhopper Penguin, Macaroni Penguin.Black-browed, Wandering and Royal Albatrosses were frequently encountered in the Drake as well, and both northern and southern sub-species of Royal Albatross were observed. Upon crossing the Antarctic convergence zone, there were 100's of Antarctic Prions, Thin-billed Prions, and Blue Petrels traveling in westward direction. Observations at King George Island, Admiralty Bay included 5 Killer Whales and 2 Humpback Whales. During transit in Nelson's Passage, 1000's of Chinstrap Penguins were observed foraging in a tidal upwelling zone, along with dozens of Humpback Whales, and 5 Minke Whales.

 

8. Scientific party aboard includes:

 

A.Jenkins, SWFSC, chief scientist

A. Cossio, SWFSC, acoustics

C. Reiss, SWFSC, oceanography, acoustics

V. Loeb, MLML, zooplankton

K. Zaret, MLML, zooplankton

K. Dietrich, SWFSC, zooplankton

R. Driscoll, SWFSC, zooplankton

S. Wilson, VIMS, zooplankton

T. Reddy, Stanford, zooplankton

P. Kappes, SWFSC, zooplankton

D. Lombard, MLML, zooplankton

D. Needham, STS, oceanography, ET support, inshore survey

M. Van Den Berg, STS, oceanography, ET support, small boats

C. Hewes, SIO, phytoplankton

N. Rojas, SIO, phytoplankton

J. Warren, Southampton College, inshore survey

S. Sessions, SWFSC, inshore survey, small boats

M. Patterson VIMS, inshore survey

J. Lipsky, SWFSC, lipid extractions and scat analysis

J. Santora, CUNY, bird and marine mammal observations

D. Futuyma, SUNY Stony Brook, bird and marine mammal observations

H. Chul-Shin, KORDI, phytoplankton

 

Submitted by Adam Jenkins.