KOSMOS-Peru 2020 crossed the finish line

A most unusual and unforgettable field experiment has come to an end. A study in which we learned as much about how we deal with uncertainties and perceived threats in a situation never experienced before, as it has taught us about the possible responses of one of the most productive ecosystems in the ocean to […]

Anything and everything for science

I started writing this blog post on t15, the day of the deep-water addition. I had some thoughts that I needed to write down. Yet, I never found the time to go over the post again, to make it publishable. Shortly after t15, COVID-19 hit Peru. I want to put the thoughts that I had […]


Our lives, my life, have been halted in so many ways.  But nothing, not even this, is black or white; and amidst the uncertainty and heartache, life keeps unfolding before our eyes. The blood-red and golden hues of every sunset keep shining just as magnificently, the reflections of the sunlight on the ocean keep dazzling […]

Tracing silicon to learn about diatoms

I first heard about the CUSCO project when Dr. Mar Fernández-Méndez approached my advisor, Dr. Jeffrey Krause, about sending a member of his lab to participate. The project itself is investigating how changes in a certain physical process, upwelling, will affect the world’s most productive marine fishery off the coast of Peru. Upwelling, for those […]

Watchman, watchman, do you copy?

It is 8 am in Peru, the sun is shining up in the sky and the boats are out on the water sampling. I relieve Toralf, who has been awake since 5am, from his position as watchman for the next 4 hours. Little by little the members of the KOSMOS-CUSCO team are trickling in and […]

The deep water hunt

32 µmol nitrate per liter – fantastic!! Better than I dared to dream. But let’s start from the beginning. The main objective of our study is to unravel how changes in upwelling intensity affect the food web and elemental cycling in the Peruvian upwelling system. Simply speaking, should upwelling intensity decline let’s say by 50% […]

It’s go time baby!

Water perspective by Sebastian Cantarero: After weeks of preparing, scheming, and building of suspense the day finally arrived! A group of highly trained secret agent scientists waited in the wee hours of the morning for word that Captain Jana and the sediment trap team was returning to dock, giving us the go ahead to start […]

The mesocosms touch water

The day started really early. At 5am we all met at the dive locker and brought everything we needed to the boats. Ropes, life vests, helmets, food, cable ties, lashing straps, lamps, fuel …. are we forgetting anything? We were all tired but at the same time excited. After 15 days in La Punta waiting […]

Be flexible

The KOSMOS-CUSCO project focuses on the links between upwelling intensity, primary productivity, export and trophic transfer efficiency in a changing climate. They seek to understand the reasons for the out of phase seasonal cycle between nutrient supply and phytoplankton productivity, an unexplained phenomenon unique to the Humboldt upwelling system. In a complementary way, Humboldt Tipping […]