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Voyage Update 7: Bongo-Bongo – and we hit 100!

We have been using one essential piece of kit to sample zooplankton, looking for areas that either have salps (for our salp cycles) or do not have salps (for our non-salp cycles to compare). Because zooplankton, salps included, can live at different depths in the water, we put these paired nets down to 200m, and investigate everything that comes back to us from the ocean.

Moira Décima and Sadie Mills get the cod ends ready for deployment and pose for a selfie. [Photo: Moira Décima, NIWA]

Our sampling has been so intense on this voyage, that we just hit 100 bongo tows! Yep, we did our best to celebrate out here, even danced to the Bongo theme song “King of the Bongo”.

Sir Peter Blake Ambassador Lana Young, crew members Shane Harvey and Phil Bignell, and NIWA’s Sadie Mills ‘play’ the Bongos. [Photo: Moira Decima]

Of course, we don’t just put the net in and back. When it returns we have to process the sample, which includes putting critters through difference sieve sizes, so we can separate out the large ones from the small ones. Our amazing Bongo squad has thus deployed and retrieved these nets 100 times, as well as processed a whopping 200 samples (since there are 2 nets), from the Bongo tows alone!

Left: Christopher Ray, Phil Bignell, Shane Harvey, Moira Décima, Sadie Mills, Morgan Meyers and Lana Young celebrate the 100 Bongo tow. [Photo: Miguel Mendez] Right: Lana Young (Sir Peter Blake Trust) and Moira Décima stand in wait for the net to return from the deep. [Photo: Sadie Mills, NIWA]


Left: Sadie Mills (NIWA) holds up the clipboard showing our 100 mark.  Right: Rob Stewart, Florian Luskow and Christian Fender interrupt their zooplankton processing to pose for a picture. [Photos: Moira Decima]




Left: Rob Stewart (NIWA) splits a sample using a Folsom (rotary) splitter. Right: Christian Fender (Florida State University) meticulously pulls out small zooplankton critters that might have been caught on the sieve. [Photos: Moira Decima, NIWA]


Left: Florian Luskow (University of British Columbia) at the size-fractionation station. Right: Morgan Meyers (University of Otago) measures and counts salp specimens. [Photos: Moira Decima, NIWA]


The information we are collecting will help us understand not only salps and their role in the ocean, but also the relationship to other zooplankton such as copepods and krill, and how the different critters live and thrive in different parts and conditions of our EEZ.

Research subject: Marine InvertebratesPlankton