Just a few weeks after the coast guard cruise we started to itch for some more field work. We were granted two days on the research vessel “Hans Brattstrøm” on June 20-21, and decided to visit the remarkable Lurefjorden, about an hour north of Bergen. This threshold fjord has very little water exchange with the ocean and is so dark that fish have been out-competed by jellyfish.
We measured water column profiles with the LISST instruments as well as with a CTD to a depth of 50m. Water samples were collected at the surface, near 50m and at chlorophyll max. The water temperature was 12-13 degrees Celcius, but that didn’t stop a few of the cruise-participants in going for a swim!
The delegation was quite large this time, counting 9 people. In order to use a research vessel in Norway, the cruise leader must have a cruise leader course. Arne was supposed to take it in April, but was in Sri Lanka at the time. The next chance was in May, but mis-communication ruled that one out as well. In the end we needed to find a replacement cruise leader at short notice, and microbiologist Stefan Thiele volunteered. A big thanks to him! In addition to Arne and Stefan, Elinor Tessin, Børge Hamre, Håkon Sandven, Yi-Chun Chen, Daniel Koestner and Hongbo Liu participated from UiB. We were also joined by Mexican guest student Ximena A. Vega from University of Stirling in Scotland.
The cruise started on the monday with perfect weather. Sunny and warm, and almost no wind. By the end of the day we noticed a special optical phenomenon around the sun – a halo. This is caused by ice crystals, and weather folklore has for hundreds of years interpreted halos as a precursor for rainfall. Unfortunately we could not find evidence against this, as the tuesday was dominated by heavy rain from morning to afternoon. At least we did not bring the Regatta-suits in vain!
Since “Hans Brattstrøm” only has two cabins, we rented an old house on the island of Lygra. This island is covered in heathland, and is home to plenty of sheep, cows and numerous species of birds. Beautiful surroundings for a great field trip!
Last year the EcoSens project went to Marifjøra in Sogn to investigate the green colored Gaupnefjorden. Its color comes from large amounts of meltwater from several nearby glaciers.
This year we hoped to find green colored water from an Emiliania huxleyi bloom. And the timing couldn’t have been better! We applied for cruise time with the coast guard in 2021, and were awarded 4 days from May 19-22. We got excited when satellite images showed the bloom had started a couple of weeks earlier, but were also worried it might end before we had a chance to go on the water. However, the bloom just kept increasing, and when it was time, Hardangerfjorden had “never” been greener! What luck!
A fast-going patrol boat (HPB) with a cruising speed of 35 knots picked up the researchers at Krokeide kai in the morning and transported them to «KV Tor», waiting at the first measuring station. The HPB and the light-boat «Sjøbjørn» were also used for deploying instruments at sub-stations for measuring scattering and absorption of light in the water.
Every day about 100 liters of water samples were collected for filtration at the lab back at the department. It will be very interesting to compare data from glacial meltwater to the algae bloom. Two very different particle types resulting in a quite similar color change of the western Norwegian fjord waters!
The coast guard was very cooperative and took their “mission” very seriously. We were served delicious meals twice a day and were transported back to land in the evening. A very exciting and different week for us!
In addition to Kristoffersen and Tessin, the delegation consisted of Håkon Sandven, Børge Hamre, Yi-Chun Chen, HTEK-student Anna Mathea Skar and Espen Storheim from Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center.
Finally, on May 1st 2021, almost a year after the start of the project, Elinor Tessin started as a PhD student on the project. She is from Bonn, Germany, but did her master’s in Bergen at the department of Biological sciences.
It was a struggle for her to enter Norway because of Covid regulations, but we found a “loophole” and sent her on a two week cruise organized by Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NERSC) with the coast guard vessel KV Svalbard – in the Svalbard area. She barely had a couple of days rest after finally arriving in Bergen before she joined the EcoSens project fieldwork in Marifjøra the following week. What a start to her PhD in Norway! Her role in the EcoSens project is mainly focused on remote sensing, and we are very excited to have her on board!
The EcoSens project was launched on September 1st with a field trip to Marifjøra. PI Arne brought Børge, Håkon, Yi-Chun and were joined by head of department Øyvind for an unforgettable four-day field trip. The weather was perfect, and our instruments behaved well. We made a short video to sum up our activities: