Enclosing a huge amount of water (about 50 tons) in tight plastic bags exposed to the forces of strong wind and waves represents an immense technical challenge. Attempts to create a mesocosm setup that is able to withstand the unpredictable forces in open ocean deployment has failed for many years. Five years of development, testing and improvement has resulted in the first construction tough enough to persist the destructive power of breaking waves under strong winds on the Baltic Sea for more than a month.
At the beginning and in the end of the EPOCA campaign on Svalbard I will help our experienced technicians to deploy and recover the nine mesocosms. As a participant of the diving team I will work in starting the experiment by closing the mesocosms. During the experiment I am responsible for finding solutions for unforeseen technical problems as well as for the physical characterization (precise volume and Gas exchange) of the enclosed water bodies by means of tracer assays. When the experiment is running, I will help and supervise Tim to process the sediment samples periodically taken from the bottom of the mesocosms.
My thoughts about the trip
For the past two years I have participated in testing, improving and running the mesocosm equipment. During that time many setbacks were suffered but also many problems were solved increasing our experience in mesocosm handling. For this biggest and most spectacular project in the Arctic we tried to take every experience made into account to ensure a successful experiment. But there are also many new factors we have no experience with. I am very exited and curious of what happens when the mesocosms meet the ices bergs, polar bears and walruses!
More about my research
I studied biological oceanography in Kiel, and I am currently working on my PhD dealing with the effects of small scale chemical environments in phytoplankton aggregations and there interaction with ocean acidification. Beside that I am involved in designing and testing mesocosm equipment.