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Iron in the water...

Posted by Susann Henkel (Cologne University) & Jan Hartmann (Heidelberg University), Germany on 31 January 2012


We arrived in Jubany (Isla 25 de Mayo) on Tuesday, 15.01.2012. The temperature difference to Buenos Aires, where we started our travel, was about 25°C and the both of us directly caught a cold.

Our aim here is to assess the sources of dissolved iron, an important nutrient for phytoplankton, in the Southern Ocean. Possibly, the iron is introduced by glacial meltwaters. Therefore, climate change might drive phytoplankton growth which in turn would have consequences for the food chain. Our methods include pore water, water, and sediment analyses (especially Fe-isotopes).

Jan and me on the zodiac during sampling

Sampling pore water directly onboard without disturbing the cores during transport

Our first week was dominated by installing and preparing the labs for sampling and analysis. Now, everything is set up and we already got some sediment cores to work with. Yesterday, we had great success in recovering four cores, part of which we directly sampled in the Zodiac. The day was sunny and calm and penguins jumping out of the water were joining us. Today we’re busy with analyses, but the nice view at the “Tres Hermanos” (a non-active volcano), seals, whales, and icebergs passing by in the Potter Cove definitely rewarded our efforts.

Working and living in Jubany is awesome: the wonderful landscape, the (so far) good weather and lab conditions, the great atmosphere, and the fruitful discussions with foreign colleges are complemented by tasty lunch and dinner.  :-)

Hasta pronto!

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