Evolutionary ecology
Letters from the Southern Ocean

Trawling in the Southern Ocean

Torborg's Master thesis in the Southern Ocean: Letter 12.2.2016 — Trawling

Tail of a diving humback whale
Humpback whales where common where krill were common, and not shy at all!
Terry Howard/Wikimedia Commons

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Day 13. We’ve now been onboard Saga Sea for 5 days, and started sampling. The first couple of days which were spent offloading krill, were absolutely beautiful with clear skies and view of the glaciers on Coronation Island and chinstrap penguins. Now it’s snowing and windy, and conditions change fairly quickly. 

After being on La Manche for a week, Saga Sea felt a little bit like coming home to Norway (yesterday I had both waffles and “komle”). Here, time off or between sampling stations is mainly spent in the wheelhouse writing or looking for whales. Yesterday, as we were in an area teaming with krill, whales could be spotted all around, recognizable in the distance from their blows. The fin whales are apparently rather shy, but some of the humpbacks could be seen quite close to the ship.

This far I haven’t gotten all that many samples of zooplankton (except for some amphipods and a couple of salps). There have been some difficulties with stormy weather and some of the equipment, but luckily we still have many stations left! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the next one.