Occupying the SAMBA line – Full Hydrography and Mooring turnaround.

Polar transit expedition in the east Atlantic: Bremerhaven to Cape Town.

iMirabilis LogoNamed after the long-lived Welwitschia mirabilis plant of western Africa, the iMirabilis expedition is one of the flagship “Demonstrator Capacity Building cruises” of the iAtlantic project. The cruise will take place on the Spanish Research Vessel Sarmiento de Gamboa (SdG) from July to October 2021 (postponed from 2020).

The ship will travel from Vigo to Mindelo (Cape Verde) where the first Leg of iMirabilis will take place. After working in Cape Verde waters, the ship will travel to Walvis Bay (Namibia) where the second leg of iMirabilis will begin including research areas off Namibia (Walvis Ridge) and off South Africa. The cruise will finish in Cape Town.

iMirabilis is an international multidisciplinary expedition with activities contributing to many tasks across iAtlantic’s work packages. At-sea activities will study both the water column (e.g. measuring oceanographic parameters, water and plankton sampling) and the seafloor. iMirabilis mobilises state-of-the-art seabed survey equipment including the Autonomous Underwater vehicle (AUV) Autosub6000 and the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Luso (EMEPC). This advanced technology allows iAtlantic to explore benthic ecosystems in great detail producing large high-resolution photographic results that will be processed automatically using new machine learning approaches.

The results of these surveys will be used to produce high resolution habitat maps in South Atlantic areas from which scarce or no-information is currently available. Moreover, the ROV Luso will allow collection of selected specimens for taxonomic purposes and for dating. Furthermore, new technologies will be tested during iMirabilis including the eDNA ‘MAPS’ sampler recently developed by researchers from National Oceanography Centre (UKRI-NOC). Seabed lander equipment will also be deployed during iMirabilis to obtain in situ information on environmental parameters and demersal deep-sea fish fauna. Ex situ experimental work will also take place on the ship, including short-term aquaria experiments with specimens collected with the ROV and incubations of sediment cores, collected by multicore and dredges.

Beyond the pure research activities, iMirabilis includes detailed training and capacity building components, for instance, young researchers from Cape Verde will join the cruise during the transits to be trained in seabird identification and seabird census techniques. Furthermore, outreach activities are planned in the harbours the ship will visit at the beginning and end of the cruise as well as between the expedition legs.

This is a mooring redeployment cruise along the SAMOC/SAMBA line (34.5ºS from Cape Town to Greenwich Meridian). In addition, CPIES will be redeployed as part of the IRD/NOAA involvement in SAMOC during this voyage. The cruise will also allow for full hydrography stations at each Mooring and CPIES station i.e. full depth CTD stations as well as Bongo net trawls.

Transit expedition to collect hydroacoustic data: Port Stanley – Las Palmas – Bremerhaven.

Cruise report online at: https://epic.awi.de/id/eprint/49644/1/Expeditionsprogramm_PS120.pdf

PS116 is the first leg of the Antarctic season 2018/19. Polarstern will leave its port of registry, Bremerhaven, on 10 November 2018 and arrive in Cape Town, South Africa, on 11 December 2018. An intermediate port call will take place on 18 November 2018 in Las Palmas, Canary Islands. Here, the majority of the scientific crew will leave the ship. In addition, six more colleagues will join the cruise. Polarstern will remain at the port of Las Palmas for three days in order to carry out 3D photo and Laser imaging of the ship’s interior. Ship time will be allocated for calibration of the echosounding systems by means of a sound velocity profiler and deployment of the underway-CTD (section Bremerhaven – Las Palmas). After leaving Las Palmas, a combined launch and recovery system (LARS) and depressor system will be tested. Furthermore, five floats will be deployed on the journey to Cape Town. Scientific activities during PS116 cwill omprise three different field of activities: training of early career scientists at the echosounding system of Polarstern (Leg Bremerhaven – Las Palmas), scientific en-route measurements and sampling, and activities and maintenance of logistics and IT department.

Link to cruise report: https://epic.awi.de/id/eprint/48338/1/ExpeditionsprogrammPS116.pdf