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Cruising – What scientists get up to out at sea

Back in November and December 2016 I went out on a cruise on the National Oceanography Centre's very own RRS Discovery! We spent three weeks off the North-West African coast, just south of the Canary Islands. The main objective of the cruise was to test the piston coring system and train the crew in how to use the equipment to get ready for a full research cruise early in 2018 in the South Atlantic. Continue reading →

On board the James Cook, heading to some black smokers in the middle of the Atlantic

Last Summer , I took part in the most wonderful adventure of my scientific life (so far!) , two back-to-back cruises on a hydrothermal field located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (where the oceanic tectonic plates are formed and go apart). This field is the very well known TAG Hydrothermal Field. Photo: location of the TAG Hydrothermal Field on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at 26 degrees North. (Google Earth credit) The first cruise was on board a German ship, the Meteor. Continue reading →

Foraminifera: The tiny and mighty

This post is reproduced from a 2014 cruise blog: http://slidesinthedeep.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/big-things-in-small-shells.html   Contrary to popular belief, euphemisms, idioms and trite sayings often have little relevance to real life. Foraminifera on the other hand, lend credibility to the notion that big things do indeed come in small packages. Foraminifera are small, single-celled marine plankton; more specifically known as Protists. Continue reading →

Welcome to “Exploring our Oceans” 5.0

Dear all   Welcome to the fifth run of the University of Southampton MOOC "Exploring our Oceans". The course starts on the 23rd January, 2017 and the team is looking forward to welcoming a new group of learners. We have collated the feedback from previous runs of this course into the image above, and hope that this run of the MOOC will help answer some questions about the ocean, and develop your understanding of the complex issues affecting our oceans. Continue reading →

How can I get involved?

As we come to the end of the MOOC, perhaps you are wondering how you can help to protect our seas and get involved with ocean science. First and foremost, take a few simple steps to minimise the effect YOU have on the oceans – there’s a great list of simple things you can do (and avoid doing!) here: http://www.wildlifetrusts. Continue reading →

Polar marine biology

This week the course focused on marine life. How diverse, abundant and adaptable it is. However, there is one region where life has to deal with extra challenges. A changing light system, from 24 hours of sunlight to complete darkness for months, harsh sub-zero conditions and changes to the composition of seawater from the freezing and thawing of ice. This is of course the Polar Regions (Arctic in the north and the Antarctic in the south). Continue reading →

Shedding more light on bioluminescence

Bioluminescence is the emission of light from a biological organism and was wonderfully introduced from a Ted talk by Edith Widder (if you haven’t seen it you can find the link here). The idea of this blog post was to dive deeper into bioluminescence and provide some more information on this amazing and beautiful process. The first question you may have is, “how is the light produced?” and the answer to this is chemistry. Continue reading →

World Tsunami Awareness Day

This year, the 5th of November, will mark the first "World Tsunami Awareness Day", an international effort, spearheaded by the UN to raise awareness of an often underappreciated risk. We are all familiar with the recent deadly tsunamis in Indonesia and Japan, the Boxing Day earthquake was the most deadly disaster in decades, responsible for the deaths of over 260 000 people. Continue reading →