Monday, 10 November 2008

SWIM DEEP-SEE BIG

From marine scientist to oceanography
What a transition!!!!! I work in the Marine Science Division at the Albion Fisheries Research Centre viz. marine chemistry and bacteriology laboratory (coastal water pollution) and monitoring of corals, coral reef fishes, and marine invertebrates, study on seagrass ecosystem, and other associated research work around the beautiful island of Mauritius. Then came a moment of transition when I was selected to attend a training course on Oceanography at the University of Cape Town, July 2008, consequently I ended up on R/V Nansen for a 45 days research cruise, October 2008 onwards.

Never had I thought of being on such a long cruise but believe me, it becomes really
very interesting after a few days of adjustment (sea-sickness, that what’s make the difference between being at sea from land) and which is inevitable. Never mind, I am constantly learning from each and every person here on-board.

What is it like to be on ASCLME, R/V Nansen Research Cruise 2008?
After having obtained an intensive one month (July 2008) training course on Oceanography at the University of Cape Town by professionals and having been exposed to various oceanographers and scientists, being on R/V Nansen have been always pleasant. Learning has been the engine for motivation and below is some of my personal interpretations of major observations as an amateur oceanographer:

What is oceanography?
It is the study of the ocean or part of the ocean by relating the physics, chemistry and the biology to understand the inter-connected dynamics and sustainability of life. In general it is the connectivity between the earth, ocean and atmosphere.

What you need to be an oceanographer?
Physically fit, good observer, good knowledge of science, computer literate, dedication to work non-stop, eager to learn, above all love for the ocean, and the ability to spend weeks or months on board research vessels, at times, face harsh weather conditions, are the main characteristics that one need to have to be a committed and successful oceanographer.

W hat should you expect on-board a research vessel?
Be ready to meet crew members, technicians, scientists and oceanographers from different countries, with different accent and different sense of humour, however all dedicated professionals are united with only one goal which is to make the cruise a successful one and achieve the scientific objectives.

What would you see in an oceanographic research cruise?
Beside the blue sky, the burning sun and the blue sea, you will always find computers in every corner, paper filled with numbers, maps and plots, colorful graphical interpretations, bathymetric maps, filtration apparatus (phytoplankton, zooplankton, meso-zooplankton), chemicals, formalin, acetone, fish specimens in most part of the working places. Also ODV-based graphical interpretations stuck on the laboratory walls together with altimetry data (ocean current patterns) make the laboratory much more colorful.
Vikash Munbodhe (AFRC)

Importance of computing Knowledge in Oceanography
In this world of Information Technology, there exists no science without the use of computer, software and programming. Hours I spend in the acoustic to retrieve information from satellite data, data collected from the echo sounder and current pattern from the Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler from the vessel mounted equipment. All these have only been achieved from the proper training I received on-board the Nansen from professional programmers.


I became fascinated by the real-time data which are amazing when just after playing with the keyboards, one can get so much information in form of colorful graphical interpretations, depth profiling and current patterns. Acoustics is important in ocean studies as major changes in the current pattern, temperature and real time bathymetric data are obtained with the proper interpretation of the data obtained from satellite and other sources and interestingly I am able to do it now.

In short these are the activities that are taking place on ASCLME Nansen Research Cruise: Acoustic, CTD, Bongo, Multinet and trawling are the core activities for the research cruise. Acoustic is mainly related to the mapping of seabed using echo sounder, taking measure of the ocean current by the use of Vessel-mounted Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler and data collection from satellite drifters, deployment of CTD at particular station.

CTD is an instrument which is deployed at a specific point to a certain depth whereby the sensors collect data on physical characteristics such as conductivity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, water density, and others. The CTD also has 12 Niskin bottles which are triggered from the Acoustic Centre to collect water samples for biological and chemical analyses.
Vimal Ramchandur (MOI)

Hey no need to get panicked!!!!!!!!!!!!
You also get good delicious food and cakes (and a gym to get rid of it again), movie time, time to socialize,
BBQs as well as internet connection, so guys we are close to you and permanently updated. You will constantly be in contact with whales, sharks and dolphins and with lovely colorful fishes following demersal trawls, however at times you can also see very scary and bizarre ones.

So don’t be a loser, join us, see life differently, ASCLME & R/V Dr Fridtjof Nansen, Exploring Mascarene Plateau, Indian Ocean 2008.

OOPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hey HAPPY BIRTHDAY VIMAL, my country mate is getting one year older today

Vikash & Vimal
Mauritius

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