MBA Arctic Diary - 31st August 2021. Entry 4: Why we're in the Arctic Ocean

Posted on Aug 31, 2021

The Synoptic Arctic Survey (SAS) which is funding the expedition as a whole is an initiative that seeks to define the present state of the Arctic Ocean and understand the major ongoing transformations, with an emphasis on water masses, the marine ecosystems and the carbon cycle.

Our project, called ProMis, complements this program. We are focused on understanding how particles interact with fungi and impact the carbon cycle in the Central Arctic Ocean (CAO). This is why we're collecting water and ice samples on IB Oden.

Once we have collected our water and ice, we take our samples to our lab container which is at the front of the ship. We have a nice view of the ice in front of the ship and of the CTD winch collecting our water. Inside our container, we have a sink, a freezer and work benches where we have set up all our filtration equipment. We use two six funnel...

MBA Arctic Diary - 17th August 2021. Entry 3: Go with the floe

Posted on Aug 19, 2021

Ice floe

Since we have last checked in with you, we have done our first ice station! Before we could get started, we needed training on how to use the equipment and what we needed to take on the ice to complete our sampling. Initially we helped out one of the other coring teams, but now we are fully trained and even teach others who join us on the floe.

Before the ice sampling can start, the ship needs to find an ice floe that is safe for us to stand on. Depending on whether the ship can moore to the floe or not, we can take the gangway down to the ice or we are lifted onto the ice with a basket on a crane. After the crew has checked that the ice is safe to walk on, we can go out and find a suitable coring site that isn't too wet or too thick and representative of the ice in the area. To get an ice core with a 9 cm diameter, we use a plastic corer which can be attached to a normal...

Finance and Management Trustee of the Marine Biological Association, Plymouth, UK.

Posted on Aug 12, 2021

Applications are invited from individuals with relevant professional expertise and an interest in the ocean environment for a Trustee of the Marine Biological Association (MBA). The preferred candidate will also be expected to take on the role of Chair of the Finance and Management Committee of MBA Council after one year in post. The MBA ( ) is a learned society of scientists and members in over 40 countries, across 5 continents. Its in-depth scientific research into the interconnected marine environment is carried out from its prestigious laboratory HQ in Plymouth, UK.

It has a Royal Charter that recognises its world-leading status in marine biology. Since 1884, the MBA has worked as a voice for the ocean and in the interests of the global marine biological community.

This is an exciting opportunity to become a Trustee and help oversee the delivery of...

Highlights of south-west marine ecosystems 2020 report.

Posted on Aug 11, 2021

A report on the state of the marine environment and of marine species in 2020 in south-west England has just been published by the Plymouth-based Marine Biological Association (MBA). One of the report editors, MBA Associate Fellow Dr Keith Hiscock, thanked the editors of eleven different sections for bringing-together observations made during 2020 and summarized that, as always, they included 'highlights' and 'lowlights'.

Colleagues at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory had recorded an exceptionally widespread bloom of coccolithophores (a type of plankton that has beautifully ornamented calcareous plates) in June and early July, which developed after a period of very warm, dry, settled, sunny weather whilst also recording that phytoplankton biomass was low overall, part of an ongoing, long-term declining trend which is particularly prevalent in the summer months. Many...

MBA Arctic Diary - 10th August 2021. Entry 2: Don't say Polar Bear!

Posted on Aug 10, 2021

Kim in her survival suit.

Last Saturday we finally got to leave our hotel rooms and meet everyone in a chartered coach with masks and safety visors. We travelled to Raa just south of Helsingborg, where the icebreaker Oden was anchored offshore and were transferred to the ship via a small boat in groups of six.


As soon as we got onboard we got an introduction to the ship and safety drills such as where to muster (the location where everybody meets in case of an emergency) and where to find fire extinguishers and alarms. We are all responsible for the safety onboard. In case we do need to abandon the ship, we have to be familiar with the survival suits which we got to try on right away (although in 20°C and was a bit toasty).


Since then, we have been doing a lot more specific safety training courses because each...

MBA Arctic Diary- 22nd July 2021 - Entry 1: Greetings from Sweden!

Posted on Jul 22, 2021

Kim and Bertha pre-quarantine
Greetings from Sweden!


Check Out the latest from the MBA Arctic Diary

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After a slightly bumpy start, we’ve completed the first six days of quarantine as of this morning.

We knew beforehand that travelling in Covid times wouldn’t be easy, but we didn’t imagine having our documents checked for more than 30 min before getting our boarding passes. Fortunately, we had negative Covid tests, invitation letters, proof of employment and train tickets all ready and in the end made it through security five minutes before boarding and onto the plane safely.

Our luggage was not so lucky as we found out a little later in Copenhagen though....

So after filing a report at the airport, we went shopping in Malmö for the essentials, such as tooth brush and phone charger, for the first couple of days in hotel...

Introduction to the MBA Arctic Diary - Meet Birthe & Kim

Posted on Jul 22, 2021

Birthe and Kim in the National Marine Biological Library, Plymouth.
Introduction to the MBA Arctic Diary - Meet Birthe & Kim Tweet #MBAArcticDiary

In July 2021, the Marine Biological Association's Dr Birthe Zaencker and Dr Kimberley Bird will be travelling to the Arctic on board the ice breaker 'Oden ' to study micro-organisms beneath the sea ice.

Find out what they have in store - How will they get there? What will they will be studying? and how will they keep themselves entertained during their long trip through the ice? Watch the short introductory film below to find out more.

you can follow Birthe and Kim's upcoming Arctic expedition and research and keep up-to-date with heir expedition through a weekly diary entry blog here on our website. Find out about their life aboard RV Oden, their living quarters, the wildlife they see and, of course, their research! Follow @thembauk and #MBAArcticDiary

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