Preparation of the CTD.

Around the Clock

Hello! My name is Franzi and I am a Master’s student at Geomar in Kiel, and now here on board of RV Sonne. My tasks include devices that were described in earlier posts: the CTD for sampling the water column, as well as the AGT, with which we collect organisms from the seafloor.

Having started my master during the pandemic, this cruise is a long awaited break from online teaching for me. It is exciting to see how theoretical lecture content is put into practice and to be able to experience scientific sampling and everyday life on board.

Our samples from the AGT, which samples the seabed at depths of up to 7200 m, contain many different groups of animals: from starfish and brittle stars to sea cucumbers and crustaceans to mussels, snails, and worms. When you are on the ship, and only see the surface of the seemingly endless blue sea every day, you may sometimes not even imagine what all is there beneath you. To get a first impression of the physical conditions in which our organisms live, we use the CTD. I am always impressed that despite 2°C cold water, darkness, and extreme pressure of up to 700 bar (for comparison: the depth record of a diver was just one-tenth of this value), such a great variety of life forms can withstand these hostile conditions. When the net of the AGT comes on board and the first animals are flushed out of the mud at the sieve table, the joy of all marine enthusiasts is correspondingly great. The fascination for this ecosystem and its inhabitants makes up for every night shift.

Sampling, fixing, and processing the samples take up a large part of the time here. But between all the work, we also have some time to relax and get together. On board, however, you can’t just go for a walk in the nearby park or to the gym for a Zumba class. Everyday life on a ship is quite different compared to everyday life on land. And not just for a few days, but for several weeks straight. When we leave our room, we are more or less directly at work. The usual daily routine, such as going shopping or cleaning the flat, does not exist for us. But what about free time on board?

In Germany it’s 35°C at the moment, while in the North Pacific we’re sailing at 11°C and in clouds with fog. On the few, or to be more precise, three, sunny days we’ve had so far, we like to meet outside on the decks for a drink or to chat. When the weather is bad, however, there are also plenty of things to do indoors: there is table tennis, table football and a dartboard, which has already been used for some duels. We also have a small fitness room and a sauna, though we have not been allowed to use them due to Covid-19 regulations. Moreover, there is also a library and a lounge that invites to chatting and playing games.

But now back to work!

Greetings from the other end of the world,



Various animals from the AGT are sorted by groups.
Sortieren der Proben aus dem AGT.
Recreational sport table tennis.