Guest post by: Jennifer Watts (ECE 2015-16)
As part of our degree, ECE students undertake a course on key skills and applied coastal oceanography. A key aspect of this is to learn useful oceanographic techniques, and gain professional experience in applied coastal oceanography. As such, were were tasked to chose, each, as scientific question; plan a field campaign and collect data, and write a report answering that particular question. Most importantly this meant we got to take RV Callista, one of the University’s coastal research vessels, out for a day of fieldwork within Southampton Water.
It was up to us students to take the lead in planning and executing a successful day of fieldwork as a group. The challenge was that each of us had different requirements of what we needed to collect in order to answer our chosen research question, and all of this data needed to be collected on the one day we had access to the boat. To prepare, we spent time looking at maritime charts and tide tables and planned an itinerary. We decided to focus our attention on the Itchen River, with our study area ranging from its mouth in to Southampton Waters to the up-river extent to which it was navigable by RV Callista.
After an early start we boarded the boat, informed the captain and crew of our plan and set off to complete our first sampling station. This was probably the most challenging of the day as we had to quickly use equipment which many of us had never used before. This ranged from deploying a CTD and a Van Veen Grab, collecting and filtering water samples and running ADCP transects.
It involved a lot of team work and good communication to make sure it all ran smoothly. After this first station we had the whole system pretty much down and the day went really well. We managed to collect a lot of data and most importantly had plenty of time to eat the ridiculous amount of snacks we had collectively brought aboard.
Overall, the fieldwork was a great opportunity to learn how to efficiently plan and execute a day of scientific data collection as well as to show how well we could work as a team. It was also just a great way to spend a day getting to know one another whilst drinking a lot of tea.