Dr Charlie Thompson writes about her busy year of sea cruises:
Shelf seas are socially important and highly productive regions, underpinning over 90% of global fisheries, and important in biodiversity, carbon cycling and storage, waste disposal, nutrient cycling, recreation and renewable energy resources. The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs(Defra) funded Shelf Seas Biogeochemistry programme sets out to better understand the cycling of nutrients and carbon on shelf seas, and their role in the wider biogeochemical cycles.
As part of this research, 2015 has seen a major research cruise campaign on board NERCs new research ship, Discovery, including three cruises focusing on benthic processes. Dr. Charlie Thompson was one of the scientists joining the cruises, helping to lead a module investigating the effects of resuspension on shelf sea biogeochemical cycling. As part of this module, the benthic cruise programme visited 4 sites with different substrates (muddy, muddy-sand, sandy-mud, sand) during 3 different seasons. This resulted in 11 successful Voyager in situ flume deployments measuring bed stability and nutrient fluxes during resuspension events; 48 completed ship-board Core Mini Flume (CMF) experiments to provide high replication, high resolution measurements of resuspension under differing flow conditions over muddy sediments; and 3 ship-board flow-through reactor (FTR) experiments looking at exchange processes through sands. This leaves us well placed to increase our understanding of these complex processes as we get down to the task of analyzing all the data. This work is just a fraction of the total science that has taken place on the cruises, and more details can be found on the shelf seas website: http://www.uk-ssb.org/