Day 6

Escaping the waves

The weather was unfortunately not on our side today. The initial plan was to sample offshore of Lofoten, but too high waves made this impossible. We instead cruised towards Vesterålen, to hide from the bad weather in Hadselfjorden. I was very excited to hear about this plan B, as my sample subject (copepods) thrive in the fjord communities at the moment. The samples offshore have not been the best in my case, as the community is dominated by the disgusting algae phaeocystis. Not only do they smell bad, they also clog up the plankton net. Few copepods thrive in the surface layers when these algae are around. 

We arrived Hadselfjorden at sunset, just in time to check the light penetration of the water with the secchi disk. I was (almost) screaming with joy when I poured out the contents of the WP2 net into my bucket. Thousands of brightly coloured red copepods, and no phaeocystis! Staying up several hours and picking out copepods for pigment analysis was not an issue. Don’t tell anyone else on board, but I am hoping for more days with wind and high waves! (joking)

Arriving Hadselfjorden.
Using the Secchi disk it is possible to estimate light penetration. I also use the Forel-Ule Scale to estimate the colour of the water. 
I decided to try something new at this station; starving the copepods for 24 hours to see how much their pigments degrade. Here I am adding filtered seawater into 20 containers. Individual copepods will be placed into each container and placed in a cold room. I have read that the pigments are very dynamic, and wanted to test this for myself. 
Sorting out copepods. I will use high performance liquid chromatography to analyze astaxanthin (the red pigment) content.
Copepods! And other zooplankton.

Mathilde Servan
Master student in marine ecology at Nord university