Hi from SWOTALIS aboard R/V Antea!
It is a lucky day for marine microbiologists and phytoplankton lovers on board! We, Cécile Carpaneto and Martine Rodier from the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO) in Marseille, finally saw our subject of study without any fancy microscope but with our own eyes.
In the southern part of New Caledonia, we crossed and sampled a bloom of Trichodesmium, a photosynthetic filamentous cyanobacteria, that was even visible from space (check the satellite image!). This organism is a well-known diazotroph, able to transform atmospheric N2 into ammonia and providing a significant source of bioavailable nitrogen to the ocean. They are tiny creatures but huge contributors to primary production in the ocean, boosting CO2 absorption and playing an important role in global climate. In this cruise we are particularly interested in studying the effects of fine-scales (fronts, eddies, internal tides, etc.) on diazotrophy and their ultimate impact in nitrogen fluxes and primary production in the ocean.
Only three days left before the second SWOTALIS leg finishes and we get back to Nouméa, New Caledonia. We are ready to approach our last station close to the lagoon!
Cécile Carpaneto and Martine Rodier on behalf of the SWOTALIS science team