AL553 and AL556 – the Baltic integrative time series continues after a one-year Corona gap!

RV Alkor on transit to Bornholm Basin. Photo: J. Dierking

After a one year, Corona-induced break, our integrative time series to assess long-term changes in Baltic Sea pelagic ecosystems finally continues, now running in its 35th year.

It feels great to be back at sea after a two-year break and long preparations, overshadowed by the question whether we could really embark this time. In March last year, the month-long preparations for our 2020 cruises were already completed when Corona brought all of Germany, including the research vessel fleet, to a standstill.

So here we are, back on board of research vessel ALKOR. Not all is the same – for example we are only 7 scientists instead of 12 on normal cruises, and had to go through a quarantine period and PCR testing before going on board under the Covid-19 hygiene plan of GEOMAR. And yet, being on board this ship with a group of fellow scientists and the permanent crew is the closest to a “normal” pre-Covid situation that most of us have felt since the beginning of the pandemic.

Our April cruise AL553 started on April 15 and will run till April 24, followed by AL556 from May 14th till June 1st. We will post more on the science behind the cruises, scientific projects, and impressions of work and life on board in the coming weeks.

Greetings from on board Alkor!
The scientific crew of AL553

PS: Want to find out where we are, and learn more about our cruise? See the GEOMAR expeditions page,

More background?
Read our past blogs from previous Alkor time series cruises on this page!

Ready to rumble – CTD probe and Bongo plankton net ready for deployment. Photo: J. Dierking