Category Archives: General information

Mesocosms in the media

Two new videos have been added in the Media page of the blog, where you can find all the articles we found in the media related to the experiment.

The two videos have been realised by France 3 Corse, the local anten of the national french chanel.

France 3-national french chanel- video 1

What do we do when you are not here?…n°2

Most of you after the experiment went directly on holidays in Corsica, or with your family. So, when your boxes have left Stareso (and Villefranche) , all major common material (centrifuge, fridges, mesocosms structure….) is back to its place in Villefranche, we (LOV team)…. go in holidays also!! This is why this blog will be idle for a moment.

There will have other post about the first scientific workshop, when the next mesocosm experiment will be anounced (yes, there will have another one….) and when anything worth to be published!!
The administrative responsibles, scientists, student and cooks from Stareso are really sad that the MedSeA team isn’t there anymore. They send us nice email to thank us because we leave the labs very clean but they also announced us that Maki died few days after our departure…

This is the end for the moment. See you soon for more informations!

Villefranche Sur Mer (by Walter)

All right. The LOV team has completed its task of cleaning the Stareso harbor, disassembling the mesocosms and make clear the laboratories. Home sweet home!
But I will miss Stareso, Corsica and this mission for MedSeA Project ..
I will miss the sunrises and sunsets, spectacular landscapes, the madness with colleagues, Winkler party (!) and not just that, all works by night, the alarm set at 3.30 am for the process sampling, the different cultures and shared knowledges.

Alba nei pressi di Stareso (sunrise near Stareso)

It was a wonderful experience for me (super!), where fatigue has begun to be felt at about half the work but not prevented us from achieving our set goals. Everything has been completed, almost everything went smoothly and I’m very happy.
Now we just have to work on the data obtained, as far as I’m concerned about the analysis of O2 and make some considerations .. but I am compelled to share the office of the Laboratory of Villefranche with this researcher …

Samir at home…

and after all..

I hope to see you all together soon!!

What do we do when you are not here ??… n°1

Since Saturday you must all think: but can they do when all the material is charged, there is nothing to prepare in the small Stareso station?
Well , we go to the Fango!! It’s an amazing area at 1h30 from Stareso. The Fango is a river coming from the montain with basins where you can swim in fresh water at 25°C!!! So, after lunch we spend 3 hours there only for relaxing. The divers dried themselves on rocks after the hard unscrewing activity they did Friday.

The landscape is completely different from what we can see in Stareso. Other montains, other vegetation, other local population (there is lot of families with kids going to the Fango) and other fishes (yes there is trout in the river as well as other small fishes).

Our guide (ndrl Jean-Michel) brought us in a small Auberge near the Fango for a ice-cream! Perfect afternoon before coming back to finish the work…

So this is the end, number 2 !

We are even closer to the end today : we just finished loading the truck ! The station seems really empty now !!
We were all scared about this step because we are not numerous (only 9 people from the LOV) and there are lots of things to load. Luckily the truck driver was already involved in the previous mesocosms experiment (DUNE) and he arrived with lots of material to make it easier. In 2 hours everything have been loaded. We managed to make enough space in the small truck to transport the samples in good conditions.

The before/after loading picture!

What’s next? We’ll have a quiet afternoon! We leave tomorrow afternoon, Monday first hour we unload and we can really say the experiment is finished (well never finished because we still have to unpack and store everything in Villefranche!).However this is not the end of the blog. There will be at least one post about how to disassemble the mesocosms. And what is the work after the experiment.

So this is the end!

So Monday was our last sampling day and a lot of people already left Stareso. We have been very busy packing, cleaning and mainly disassembling the 9 mesocosms. The weather was better and we have been able to work quickly being a great team, it is of course very efficient. Jean-Michel,Didier, David and Grigor arrived to reinforce the diving team as a lot has to be done under water. Francis also came back to take care of the logistic on the quay when the mesocosms are being bring back from the mooring. This step really ends the experiment. It was an extraordinary human and scientific adventure and a successful experiment for sure… tiring, yes but hopefully our results are going to meet our expectation,at least, we did our best to make it. As a souvenir, Frederic created nice ‘MedSea’ t-shirts and we are all happy to wear it on the picture! The experiment is over but not this blog, still open for more thoughts and
news…. Until the next experiment!!
From left to right and men (back line) to women (first line): Samir, LoIc, Walter, Thanos, Mauro and Vincent. Raquel, Afrodite, Francesca, Cécile, Anastasia, Martina, Angela, Amélie, Cinzia, Denise, Lisa, Justine and Laure. Missing people: Fred, Andy, Louisa, Tanya, Anggeliki, Karine, Clémence, Eija and Aurélie.

back from the beautiful Corsica Island (by Patrizia Ziveri)

Working in the mesocosms and the mesocosms under water
I am back from the beautiful Corsica Island where I went during the preparation and starting of the MedSeA mesocosm experiments on acidification, off Stareso Laboratory near Calvi. This is an important event for the MedSeA project and for the theme dealing with the “Effects of ocean acidification and temperature on pelagic ecosystem function”. We are testing for the first time in the Mediterranean Sea, future acidification scenarios on microplanktonic organisms and key biogeochemical processes. This is very exciting and it was good to see that the testing went well and the actual experiment is started. There is a great group of people, all very motivated, excited and hard working. The people from LOV in Villefranche, led by Frederique Gazeau, are doing a great job in keeping everything under control and building a good and efficient sampling planning to make sure that the experiments will be successful.

I looked at same samples from the mesocosm by scanning electronic microscope and there are coccolithophores! (several species but all quite small and in different stages of their life cycle). These are very interesting samples for Angela’s PhD project.

Coccolithophores from Stareso!

All the best to the mesocosm team for a successful sampling and great results!

… and the experiment started!

After a long preparation, mainly done by the Villefranche team, and some days of test samplings were we all learned how to deal with the ropes, the platforms, the hydrobios integrater sampler, pumps etc, each of us have already sampled for its own data. During this preparation we had some troubles (mainly in the windy days). For example, the pump used to acidify felt once in the water (luckily it was saved), one of the carrying boxes with all the empty bottles also felt in the water in a windy day, but after a refreshing swim it was saved as well. Some of the scientist also felt in the water but came back swimming and finally, one team was caught in pictures when, unlocked themselves from the mesocososm units and, taken by the currents, started to drift in the platforms… soon they were brought back by zodiac.

Sample team is brought back by boat after drifting with the currents. On the platform they were probably just enjoying the little trip 😉

All these experiences made us stronger and ready for the real samplings and subsequent processing of the samples. In my case it meant filtering about 80 liters of water. These because I want to see coccolithophores, marine calcifying phytoplanktonic organisms that are at the base of the food web and particularly sensitive to the changing ocean carbonate chemistry. Coccolithophores produce plates (coccoliths) of calcium carbonate which they use to cover their bodies (single cells).

For these organisms, a decreasing pH of the ocean is expected to affect the production of calcium carbonate by coccolithophores (see Image from Beaufort et al. 2011 article where evidence from sediment samples seem to agree this hypothesis). From each of the nine mesocosms I will be filtering 9 liters of water to later observe the filters under the scanner electron microscope (SEM). I will check whether those coccolithophores living in the more acidic ambient have more malformed, incomplete or thinner coccoliths than those living under normal conditions (in the Mediterranean “normal” means high alkalinity and saturation state for calcite, impeding the dissolution of calcium carbonate). Half of the water will be used to measure Ca in the smaller than 40um fraction (if I manage to get sufficient material). First samples are in the oven!

Modified from Beaufort et al. 2011

Last 2 weeks

Here (Villefranche sur Mer) we are at 2 weeks from leaving to Corsica, the other participants will join us around the 17th of June to start the experiment!! We have to build the nine mesocoms and prepare the laboratories before everyone arrives.

From June 4th to 19th the LOV team has to: install the anchors (the mesocosms are fixed to the seabed), build the nine mesocoms (insert the armatures around the bag, prepare the roofs, buoys,…), deploy the mesocosms on site (just in front of the Stareso station) and manipulate the carbonate chemistry (we’ll explain later how we do it). So many things to do but it will be nice moment!!

Pictures of the mesocosms and the Stareso station will come soon!