FS Sonne at the pier of Dutch Harbor

Vessel left port - ahoi!

On July 23, the 38 scientists from 12 nations (Japan, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Mexico, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, USA, United Kingdom) boarded the FS Sonne in Dutch Harbor, Unalaska (USA) for the AleutBio (Biodiversity Studies in the Aleutian Trench) expedition. On board we were warmly welcomed and a Corona antigen test was first performed for all new participants who were all tested negative. 

In the afternoon, after a tour of FS Sonne and the laboratory distribution, the containers were unpacked, the equipment was distributed to the respective laboratories and chambers, and on the morning of July 24, the research equipment was assembled and lashed for departure, and the laboratories were set up and the equipment deployments for the expedition were discussed with the captain, Oliver Meyer, in the hangar.

The AleutBio expedition aims to shed light on the distribution of marine organisms and contribute to the understanding of changes in biodiversity and its distribution in the North Pacific, the gateway to the Arctic. Thus, in addition to biogeochemical studies, the goal of AleutBio Expedition SO293 is to analyze seafloor life of all size classes (protists, meio-, macro- and megafauna) in the eastern Bering Sea as well as in the eastern abyssal and hadal depths of the Aleutian Trench. We plan to describe biodiversity, highlight biogeographic relationships and examine species connectivity with those from the Arctic Ocean and Kuril-Kamchatka Trench in times of rapid climate change. Bathymetric mapping will be used to explore the bottom topography to define the most appropriate location for instrument deployment.

We left Dutch Harbor in the evening at 20.00. The departure was a spectacular natural spectacle with very mystical scenery characterized by intense light and shadow effects, intense rainbows and multiple jumping minke whales. Now we are on our way to the first station, which we expect to reach in about 23 hours, in strong winds with a decent swell. This is not a long time for the scientists to tighten sea legs, yet everyone is happy that the expedition is starting.


Angelika Brandt, Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt

Chief Scientist

Discussion of the equipment deployments for the AleutBio expedition
Scientists in front of RV Sonn
Rainbow as a farewell from Dutch Habor
Whale shortly after departur