After a month in this beautiful place, it is time for me to go back to the North (cold, rainy, as it is always in Nice ;-)). As Andy mentioned, these are mixed feelings, happy to go back home to my partner and my boys, and of course a bit sad of leaving before the end of the experiment. No need to say, I had a great time here, with a fantastic group of people, in this unique area ! Many thanks to Pierre, Alexandre, Nilou, Richard, Joseph, Sylvain, Aurélia, Corinne and many others for their warm welcome. A special thank to the LOV team, the divers, the engineers, they did a fantastic job preparing the mesocosms and setting up an optimal system for our scientific work.
I would like to share with you some results on how the acidification of the mesocosms went. We were planning on having 3 controls and 6 lower pH levels. It took us 3-4 days to add enough CO2 saturated seawater to this quite alkaline water to reach the desired levels. At the start of the experiment, the levels were: 540, 640, 730, 850, 1090, 1290 microatm, very close to the expected levels, while in the controls, seawater was over the atmospheric equilibrium (400 ppm in the atmosphere) at a value of 450 microatm. Now we are at day 8 of our experiment, and everything is going well, it almost became a routine. The chlorophyll a concentration is rather low but we knew we would face very oligotrophic conditions, that makes our analysis work just a bit harder.
In the last few days, we were so happy to have optimal weather conditions to sample our mesocosms, no wind, temperature of the water increasing to 24 °C allowing a fall from the sampling platform without even noticing it 🙂 but of course everything has to come to an end, the wind is back and actually pretty strong. The 2 samplings from this morning were quite a bit of a challenge and we will have to postpone the addition of 13C (Laure’s experiment) to at least tomorrow.
I would like to emphasise one aspect of our stay here: after a long day sampling, filtering, measuring, repairing, swearing :-), some fun never harms. Two days ago, after a nice Gin-Tonic aperitif offered by our british colleagues, we decided on taking some pictures of us all on the sampling platforms. So we brought 2 platforms in the Stareso harbor in which we were supposed to stand nicely without moving too much… of course, this lasted for only 2 mins, as it quickly turned into a “Cubi” fight! We ended up all wet, it was great fun, people living in the area wondered what happened, as apparently we were “a bit” noisy….
For all these aspects, I will miss you guys and the Stareso station.