AMLR 2006 Weekly Report No. 1

16 January 2006


1. The U.S. AMLR Program accepted the Russian R/V Yuzhmorgeologiya as ready for the 2006 charter at 0800 on 8 January 2006 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 2006 for the U.S. AMLR study area in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica.


2. In route to the U.S. AMLR study our vessel encountered uncommonly good weather across the Drake Passage. Landfall at Admiralty Bay on King George Island was 0600 14 January. The ship hove to off of Copacabana Camp and at 0800 Zodiac operations began. Personnel (J. Hinke, S. Woods) and 6 zodiac loads of fresh provisions, fuel and mail were transferred to the Copacabana field camp. A small amount of fresh provisions were delivered to the Polish base Artcowski as well. In addition the ships multi frequency echosounder was successfully calibrated while at anchor in Ezcurra Inlet.


3. After departing Admiralty Bay the evening of the 14th January, the ship made a brief stop at Fildes Base (Chilean) in Maxwell Bay to pick up spare parts flown in from Chile for non functioning equipment used at Cape Shirreff.


4. On the Morning 15 January, the ship fetched Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island at 1030. 7 zodiac loads of Provisions, lumber, mail and personnel (R. Haner, W. Trivelpiece) were transferred to the AMLR Cape Shirreff field camps.


5. In addition five autonomous instrumented buoys were assembled aboard ship and deployed via zodiac 6nm off Cape Shirreff successfully. All five buoys established a link with the shore receiving station at Cape Shirreff and are logging data to a shore computer.


6. On 16 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.


7. Oceanography and meteorology. A steady barometer, and North West to West winds, averaging 12knts, saw calm seas and clear skies for the majority of this period, with the convergence’s northern edge being crossed at latitude 57° 58.185'S, on the southbound transit. The new Biospherical PAR sensor was interfaced to the SCS and is being compared with the old Licor PAR sensor. The old fluorometer and transmissometer were installed and interfaced to the CTD system, to compare them to the newly fitted Chelsea Instruments Aquatracka III fluorometer and Wetlabs C-Star transmissometer. These instruments, as well as the new Seabird SBE 43 dissolved oxygen probe and pump, seem to be working well.


8. Phytoplankton. All equipment is functioning


9. Bird and marine mammal observations. Standardized seabird observations, concurrent with an opportunistic marine mammal effort, was conducted during the transit to the AMLR study area with effort beginning on the morning of 12 January about 15 NM northwest of the northern entrance to Estrecho de le Maire, and ending the following day about 44 NM NW of Cape Lindsey, Elephant Island. We were on effort for a total of about 17.5 hours, surveying 213 NM of trackline. Observation conditions were excellent both days, with no appreciable precipitation and an average seastate around Beaufort 4 (wind speeds between 11 and 16 knots). As a result, we had an impressive 16 cetacean sightings of 6 species, including outstanding, jaw-dropping views of Southern Bottlenose Whales (a large solitary male only metres off the bow was particularly memorable), and a group of three Gray’s Beaked Whales. The latter animals lingered uncharacteristically on the surface at close range and repeatedly raised their distinctive white beaks out of the water. Seabird abundance and diversity was typically low for mid-summer. We found 266 individuals of 16 species on 12 January and 181 individuals of 13 species the following day. Noteworthy was the high number of Rockhopper Penguins, perhaps an artifact of the optimum observing conditions. Our deepest appreciation to the crew of the R/V Yuzhmorgeologiya and the AMLR program for providing an excellent observation platform on the flying bridge.


10. Scientific party aboard includes:

A. Jenkins, SWFSC, chief scientist

A. Cossio, SWFSC, acoustics, small boats

C. Reiss, SWFSC, oceanography, acoustics

V. Loeb, MLML, zooplankton

C. Brooks, MLML, zooplankton

K. Dietrich, SWFSC, zooplankton

R. Driscoll, SWFSC, zooplankton

O. gorobets, SWFSC, zooplankton

M. Meredith, SWFSC zooplankton

L. Asato, SWFSC, zooplankton

D. Lombard, SWFSC, zooplankton

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

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

C. Hewes, SIO, phytoplankton

M. Ozturk, SIO, phytoplankton

N. Delaney, SIO, phytoplankton

B. Seegers, SIO, phytoplankton

H. Dulaiova, WHOI, phytoplankton

P. Henderson, WHOI, phytoplankton

J. Warren, SUNY Stony Brook, Inshore survey

M. Cox, St. Andrews, Inshore survey

S. Sessions, SWFSC, Inshore survey, small boats

J. Lipsky, SWFSC, lipid extractions and scat analysis

J. Santora, CUNY, bird and marine mammal observations

M. Force, SWFSC bird and marine mammal observations



A. Jenkins sends.