Today is our sixth day on board of the Meteor and we successfully accomplished our fourth Multinet station. Apart from smaller incidents, like the loss of a water sampling bottle and calibration problems of pH and O2 sensors, our Multinet does what it should do: It brings us plankton samples from different water depths on deck. For this purpose 5 nets with a mesh size of 100 µm are attached to a metal frame which can be opened at a desired depth to sample different intervals of the water column. In addition it is able to record some physical properties of the water masses it is lowered through. At each station the ship stops and the net is lowered up to 700 m below the surface of the ocean.
Samples caught in the net are picked under a binocular microscope to get out all of the foraminifera for further research on land. Afterwards they are stored in a -80°C freezer. Our record so far was a total number of more than 7000 individuals that we picked out of one Multinet.
We have also caught some interesting guests in our plankton nets: several sea-salps. These are pelagic filter feeders that are connected to a tube-shaped colony with an opening to one end. Our specimens have a size of up to 10 cm. Martin Visbeck was able to take some really nice pictures of these creatures, where every individual is discernible.
I am very curious about what kind of fancy creatures we will come across on our way to the Falklands.