More of the end… disassembling the mesocosms (by Angela)

It’s been a week since the mesocosms were dismantled, each time three of them were pulled out of the sea and “attaked” by the Villefranche group. To see and help on this gave the opportunity to understand the magnitude of the logistic behind.

View from Stareso when the mesocosms were still there 😦

The engineers that concived the structure were at the harbour helping and taking care that everything was stored and treated properly for the next experiments. Every single tube had to be washed, packed and stored; ropes and buoys cleaned and with out air, plastics folded and packed for recycling. The divers had long days taking the things out of the water and the rest of the team with the afterwards. Some people took a bath inside the mesocosms while cutting the ropes, I am sure most of us wanted to do that. Now everything is packed and ready to use for the next experiment. Así que: buen viento y buena mar!


Messing up the mesocosms…all for zooplankton! (by Thanos)

Thanos processing samples after collecting the zooplakton

If you ever find yourself in the middle of a mesocosm experiment somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea and you decide to mess up with it, then you have only one choice. Call us. Call the ZMUT*.

We can do almost anything. We can do cubiing, pumping and sampling all free of charge ;). We collect copepods and their eggs and feed them with the soup from the mesocosms (each soup with different pH flavour), trying to understand how acidification of the seas affects those living creatures.

But the most important…

We are the only ones who can professionally mess up the mesocosms. The only thing that is needed is a net, just a common zooplankton sampling net.

And after that …

No microlayers, no samples, no filtration, no sediment traps.

Simple as that.

PS1: Our best wishes (double for those who are here from the beginning) for a safe return back home and for good results to all cubists of STARESO.

PS2: Thanks all of you for your help!

* Zooplankton Messing Up Team (ISO 2000)

…THE DAILY JOHNATAN’S JOURNEY.. (by Francesca and Cinzia)

I have been spending almost one month in the wonderful Stareso station, working in the mesocosms and it is revealing a really great experience! Some are happier some are less to go back home, however tomorrow will be the last day of the experiments…I did a lot of “in situ” work because my parameter’s analysis can not wait (at least for CDOM). But today I am not going to bore you about my analysis!

I would like to tell you a little story about..our Johnathans (the name we have given to the integrated-sampler-bottles)! Because Cinzia and me we will miss them a lot..

I am in the daily team of 8.30 am with my collegue Cinzia, so every morning we are full of energy (well, coffee is strictly necessary..) to go to the cubis for sampling K3! This the best moment of the day (as far as work is concerned..), because one of the Johnatans is randomly with us 😉

(Cinzia and Francesca at 8.30 team on cubis)

When we approch the mesocosms and we are well attach by ropes (if not the strong SW wind will blow us to Genova or Sardegna) we are ready to prepare our Johnatan for his journey into the so transparent and blue corsican waters…

He will travel in the water-column until reaching 10 m depth: we cast him very constantly, slowly and sweetly by the rope, in order he is able to collect the integrating seawater we need.

Basically is like a big 5 Liters syringe. Thus, is very important to push down the piston before casting again.

Since Samir and Fred smartly discovered the utility of the “push botton” to save time in the meanwhile we are sampling the last bottle (the pressure is higher) we also enjoy with the rest of the team to sing “Me gusta el push!”

The PUSH “moment” standing on knees

The name alludes to seagulls that unfortunately made their dwelling place above the roof of the mesocosms..
“If you love someone, set them free..If they come back they are yours..if they don’t they never were.”

some time for non-scientific activities ;)

During one of the Yoga sessions at Stareso

The wind keeps blowing powerfully and samplings from today were cancelled. Although is bad news, we will surely occupy the time in other activities besides filtering and measuring. Some only want to sleep, others might go for a walk on the beautiful mountains around, plans to get to walk around Calvi might develop, and others plan to join the already established Yoga classes (daily at 18.20).

Cecile, besides on charge of the experiment now, is also in charge of giving those who want to learn, the right description of the Yoga positions in the class. She is telling us to breath, to lead our heads go. Yoga is something half the class hasn´t try before and we are glad to be able to relax our backs after the pulling down and up of the sampling bottles and the carrying of boxes from the harbor to the boats. Fish, candle, warrior, cat, tree…each of us has its favorite.

Yoga sunset

CTD (by Anastasia)

CTD (standing for: Concise and Terribly Distressful)
Date of birth: end of 2011
Place of birth: Washington, USA
Parents: Raquel, Angela, Grigor and Vincent
Siblings: The Radiometer


-Handle the CTD with immense care and don’t rush it!
-A good teacher (while on the cubi) will definitely help you take accurate measurements and will explain in depth the principals of its use, unless singing/listening Greek songs distracts him!
-Singing in general will help you a lot to concentrate and find the perfect – appropriate rhythm for lowering the CTD in the water
-Use an umbrella while using it and hide below it, in order to protect from light (and be fashionable!)
-Drift with the currents and trust the waves when “travelling” from one cluster to another, without being attached to any of the ropes. Oops! If the weather changes unexpectedly and floats you towards Calvi, jump in the water and save the CTD!
-Don’t panic! Instructions for correct handling are given on board the cubi. Try to keep calm
-Real time data will only come after a quite long processing day that requires patience and … knowledge of course
-Rinse the CTD with water (and affection…) immediately after each use and, if necessary, forget about your lunch

Vincent and his second baby

Principal(ok, let’s be a bit more serious now!)

The CTD (actually standing for Conductivity, Temperature, Depth) is an instrument that takes continuous measurements of several water characteristics (temperature, conductivity – from which salinity is derived -, pH, fluorescence of chlorophyll pigments, photosynthetically available radiation, and dissolved oxygen concentration), with the use of sensors that are placed whether in external or internal flows. It provides you with a detailed description of your water sample, with measurements taken four times per second. These measurements are then aligned to depth (by converting pressure to meters) and are saved in digital form in order to be processed later…

Mauro’s vision of the story

Part of Stareso´s fauna.

Once upon a time a bizarre concrete landslide gave birth to the station of Stareso in the savage coastline of Corsica. The place was soaked with grey magic and many biodiverse creatures started settling. The undiscussed king of this realm was the Vampire Eel, having as subjects carnivourous pirana-like marine fishes, French speaking wasps, immortal mosquitoes (you can smash them but they never decrease in number), a zombie cat, diarrhoea-generating sea gulls and a variety of electricity-resistant flying bugs.

more of Staresos´s fauna (introduced)

Since when the human kind initiated the so called global change that kingdom has remained preserved by unwanted invasions… until now… A bunch of intelligent, good-looking, brilliant, nice, sexy, over-the-top scientists arrived in that magical place to study the effect of increasing C dioxide on its marine system. That apparently peaceful system could just not stand those unwanted creatures and reacted. Yes, it reacted. Will those scientists survive to such a massive reaction?

will they?

The food at Stareso ;)

First day: Paella!

There is key factor making our days easier, tastier, and happier here in Stareso research station; that is: the FOOD! (capital letters are needed because it reflects the size of our dishes). Since the first day it was clear to us that food was not going to be something to worry about. We were welcoming with a delicious paella, salads, sweets and cheese, always present French cheese, and specially the nice Corsican cheese with fig mermelade….yummmi

Some of the dishes we have had

And so, our days pass awaiting for 12:30 and 19:30 were the bell rings and everybody gathers around the table. Team work is a constant even when making the table: one puts the napkins, someone else the plates, forks, knives, water for all (Oasis for Samir)…and the table is ready!. During our meals we hear happy conversations and laughs in English, French, Spanish, Greek, Italian and international laughs. Then, always with full bellies, one by one stands up and goes filtering, sampling, or just for a break.

Richard and Joseph!!

Every day I said to myself I will eat less next day…but that never comes 😉 I guess that happens to most of us… Just now, while I am writing this post, the smell of something being cook by Joseph reach me and Raquel, we look at each other and say…”hmmmm”.
and all this thanks to Joseph and Richard! …Lets see what it will be today!