Cruise report from our master students

It has been 10 days since we left Tromsø. Being so far out at sea is truly an experience that will stay with us for a long time. The feeling of having several kilometers of water between the ship and the seabed is quite strange and takes some time to get used to. Since we left, we’ve not seen any other signs of humans – just the waves, the seabirds and the samples we get up from vents. 

The days have been well spent, we’ve mostly been working in the lab or watching the streaming from the ROV. It’s been interesting to see how Mari, Tone and Nadia have been working in the lab – and we believe we’ve picked up a trick or two. Seeing how much work and knowledge that is required to understand the vent ecosystems and to find new species, has been inspiring. It has been good to get a hands-on experience out at sea. Because of the need to treat the samples quite quick to preserve them, some days of working in the lab have been longer than others. But by prioritizing which samples to treat first and plan shifts according to this, we managed to get it done – and the good working spirit has definitely helped us along the way. 

The deep-sea is among the parts of the planet we know the least about, mostly due to the difficulty of getting there. Today, we can overcome that by using an ROV, but still – there is 3 kilometers between us and the vents. There is always many factors we’ve needed to take into consideration, also factors that are outside of our control. The weather has been somewhat challenging and sampling with an ROV requires that several systems works perfectly together.  

Let’s not forget to mention the joy of getting to know the fellow scientist onboard. It’s been fun exchanging knowledge and learning about the interaction between chemistry, geology and biology. In conversations, there has always been a person with deeper knowledge within certain topics and there have been many discussions to engage in. 

Now we both embark on the journey of writing our master thesis both regarding the vent and seep-ecosystems – and we are excited! There is so much to learn about, especially in order to understand how these ecosystems might be affected by disturbances. 

Thank you for letting us join – it’s truly been a memorable experience. 

Marte & Haakon

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