As part of our cruise MSM126 focus on the “jellyweb”, we are also interested in siphonophores. Even in the vast and mysterious world of marine life teeming with peculiar inhabitants, these distinctive creatures stand out. While they share similarities with jellyfish, particularly in having stinging cells known as cnidocysts, they do not look much like […]

Yay! Yo-Yo!

It’s ten o’clock in the evening, the research vessel MARIA S. MERIAN is moored off the coast of Madeira. The bridge gives the announcement: “On station in about ten minutes”. And off we go for another night of yo-yo CTD cruising. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, today we’re diving deep into why […]

A physical oceanographer alone among biologists

Anton and I have just brought CTD cast number 45 to light. While we are once again shaking freshly tapped bottles with great enthusiasm, I think I can make out question marks in Jamileh’s expression as she smiles good morning to us. That’s what everyone here seems to be thinking: 45 CTD casts already? And […]

Forensics in the sea

We explore the entire tree of life on the research vessel MARIA S. MERIAN: animals, algae, bacteria, and viruses. The cruise focuses on the food web and ocean biodiversity. However, some animals, especially hunters such as squid and whales, are too big, fast or camera-shy for our instruments. To detect these top predators, we search […]


Exciting plankton creatures have been making their way into the laboratories on board RV Merian since we left Funchal almost two weeks ago. Several scientists and engineers from German, Portuguese and US institutions set up shop in the chemistry, dry and deck labs on the main deck to prepare for plankton sampling and analysis. Since […]