Current Survey Details

Celtic Explorer

Survey Name: Biological Carbon Export in the Labrador Sea (BELAS) (01/05/2024 to 07/06/2024)
Chief Scientist: Dr Brian Ward (University of Galway)
Survey Details: Phytoplankton living in the sunlit surface ocean take up CO2 and nutrients and produce organic carbon. Some of this organic carbon leaves the surface ocean and sinks to greater depth via a set of processes collectively called the Biological Carbon Pump (BCP). The BCP plays a critical role in global climate regulation. Current estimates suggest that the BCP removes 5-12 Gt C from the atmosphere per year, roughly equal to anthropogenic CO2 emissions. By transferring carbon into the deeper ocean, the BCP effectively removes CO2 from the atmosphere for centuries, slowing global warming. However, there is mounting evidence that climate warming is affecting the BCP, especially in higher latitudes, via increasing freshwater inputs, altered nutrient dynamics, and declines in phytoplankton growth. Our current ability to predict changes in the BCP in the face of ongoing and future climate change is weak at best.

Tom Crean

Survey Name: Aran-Porcupine Nephrops UWTV 2024 (30/05/2024 to 10/06/2024)
Chief Scientist: Mr Mikel Aristegui (Marine Institute)
Survey Details: A high definition camera system is towed over the sea bed for 10 minutes travelling approx. 200m at 0.8 knots on a purpose built sledge. The Nephrops burrows in the seabed are annotated by experienced scientists using an inhouse developed review app. The burrow density estimates are then calculated up to the entire area of the Nephrops grounds using statistical methods. The survey also collects presence -absence absence data on sea-pens, other macro benthos, trawl-marks and fish alongwith data on Nephrops activity.