Aboard "Hans Brattström"
This week we have been sampling both Laminaria hyperborea and Saccharina latissima kelp species in Bergen aboard "Hans Brattström". "Hans Brattström" is a research vessel owned by the University of Bergen and operated by the Institute of Marine Research. The vessel was built in 1992, and was named after the professor of zoology and marine biology at the University of Bergen, Hans Brattström (1908–2000). The vessel operates on the West Coast, i.a. for short student cruises, but also for a number of research assignments and collection of biological samples in the coastal zone for both UiB and HI (https://www.hi.no/hi/om-oss/fasiliteter/vare-fartoy/hans-brattstrom-1).
During this new year 2022, we have planned about 5 sampling days with "Hans Brattström". The main objective is to try to sample the same sites during different seasons, in order to study possible seasonal differences in the viral load of the algae.
But before starting our job, safety first! After explaining us the essential safety rules, we had the opportunity to try the immersion, or survival, suits. Survival suits are designed to keep you warm (and alive) in case you have to abandon the vessel due to an emergency. It was not the easiest job to get into one of those costumes, but Gunnar managed pretty well, as you can see on the picture to the right :P
We started sailing to out sampling site and, after about one hour and a half, we got ready for the sampling. We used the vessel's triangular dredge to get the algae, which are attached to the rocks of the bottom of the sea. The dredge is then brought to the surface with a crane, and then the algae are picked up manually. The rest of the procedure is like we have done before: we make a hole on the algal blade with a falcon tube, and the algae round gets stored in there with silica beads until further use.
Our intention was to continue sampling, however we had to abort the mission due to intense waves. We already postponed the sampling due to bad weather and, even if it was not really bad that day, the wind that blew the previous days made it impossible to continue sailing. Despite that, we were really happy with the experience and we drove back home with new samples, that will be processed soon.
We continue with PCR problems, but we hope to finally solve them thanks to the help of our UiB partners. We are also setting our lab incubator to receive fresh samples from France, but that will be explained in another episode...