Hanna Kauko
(Photo provided by Hanna Kauko;
Taken by Andreas Wolden)

Please briefly tell us about your current research project

My current research project investigates phytoplankton dynamics in the Southern Ocean (e.g. distribution, biomass, species composition, bloom dynamics, primary production) in an area that has rarely been studied (Dronning Maud Land coast).

You have recently been on a research cruise in the Southern Ocean. Is this your first time to Antarctic and/or the Southern Ocean? If yes, when were you there and what did you do during that trip?

Yes, the first time. We were in March-April 2019 outside the coast of Dronning Maud Land, mainly Astrid Ridge, and at Maud Rise conducting ecosystem studies from a research vessel.

Water sampling and plankton nets
(Taken by Øystein Kjelsvik;
Provided by Hanna Kauka)

How did you identify your current fieldwork opportunity?

It was part of the post doc position at the Norwegian Polar Institute that I applied to and got.

How did you do to prepare for the research cruise?

By the time I got the post doc position a lot of the preparations were already done (the ship was already sailing towards Chile), but there were still some things to figure out and I have been preparing for other field campaigns, so basically following things: all gear needs to be packed and loaded to the ship (and some possibly ordered); sampling frequency and plan needs to be decided (which also determines the amount of consumables needed), fine tuning of sampling areas and locations, and so on (and of course all starts with defining the research questions and aims). In addition, I tried to familiarize myself better with the Southern Ocean system (e.g. by reading articles) because I have been working mainly in the Arctic before.

What did you do while you were on your research cruise?

I was mainly doing water sampling from the water sampler rosette deployed with the CTD casts, and filtering and processing these samples for storage and analysis. We also did some algal species composition observations with a microscope and sea ice sampling.

How do you hope your data collection tie into your current research project?

The data we collected on this cruise will be my main task and focus for the post doc i.e. for the coming two years.

(Photo provided by Hanna Kauko;
Taken by Andreas Wolden)

What do you believe is the contribution of your research project to your field of research?

This project will provide knowledge on an area where there is little research conducted and knowledge gaps regarding all aspects of the marine system, and will provide information for the processes around the suggested marine protected area. The project also provides insight into a season (autumn) that is rarely studied.

Which resources or tools you would recommend to someone planning a research cruise as part of their fieldwork preparation?

Webinars and other materials created as part of the ARICE project and the INTERACT Fieldwork Planning Handbook by the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS).

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