For my colleagues and me there is an adventure ahead. Today (28.01.2017) at 17:00 NZ time our research cruise SO254 „PoriBacNewZ“ will start from Auckland into the subtropical and subantarctic waters of the Southwest Pacific before we return to Auckland (27.02.2017)! Originally, our departure was scheduled for the 26.1., but two out of the four Diesel engines were out of service due to a damage in the chiller system delaying our departure.
The goal of this expedition is a comprehensive investigation of the structural and functional biodiversity of bacteria communities in the water column, in the sediment and in sponges in the biogeographic provinces of the Southwest Pacific. Therefore, we will follow a transect along 180° Longitude between 30° to 60° South during the upcoming 31 days.
Fourty Scientists from four countries (Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, New Zealand) and with backgrounds in Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Analytics and Sensors boarded the R/V SONNE. Together with the ship crew we loaded and emptied containers, assigned cabins and lab space to set up workstations. Such an expeditions requires detailed planning!
At the 25th January all participants had the opportunity to present their research and the vessel to an interested audience during an „Open Ship Day“ falling together with the 40th anniversary of German-New Zealand research cooperation. This event attracted more than 1,500 participants showing that marine research in the focus of public interest.
If you didn’t pass out yet and if you are interested what my dear colleagues and me will explore during this journey, you just need to follow this blog during the next weeks.
And in the end: Where is the SONNE?
With this in mind,
(Translation by Torben Struve)