An article from Dr. Rodrigo Gonçalves
Besides working with the mesocosmos, we also had experiments onboard. And besides studying phytoplankton, we also worked with zooplankton (animals in the plankton). Zooplankton is very important in aquatic ecosystems as they ‘transfer’ energy from phytoplankton to fish and other animals (including whales!). Within zooplankton, copepdos is the most numerous group (in fact they compete with insects for the ‘most abundant multicellular organism in Earth’). We have been collecting microscopic life from surface waters using a “manta” net. This net (also called neuston net) is towed by Poseidon and thanks to its side buoys it doesn’t sink, rather it skims the surface of the sea trapping all particles in the upper centimeters of the water column. We found a rich community of organisms and particle including, unfortunately, many plastic debris.