RV Atlantic Explorer AE1410 (GAc02, UNOLS)

Cruise summary report

Cruise Info. 
Ship name (ship code)RV Atlantic Explorer (33H4)
Cruise identifierAE1410 (GAc02, UNOLS)
Cruise period2014-05-31 — 2014-06-08
Port of departureBridgetown, Barbados
Port of returnSt. George's, Bermuda
ObjectivesThe Chief Scientist Training (CST) cruise initiative was developed in light of concerns voiced by UNOLS and institutional representatives that ship utilization statistics indicate a decreasing trend in the participation of younger oceanographers in the submission of proposals requesting ship time and in the percentage of junior faculty who are Principal Investigators or Chief Scientists on research cruises. In some instances there appears to be a perception that NSF only funds ship time in support of large research programs or that ship time requests from scientists at non-operator institutions have a very low probability of being funded. Young scientists often lack knowledge about the UNOLS research fleet, in particular the capabilities of small local and regional class vessels. Especially at non-ship operator institutions, junior faculty are unfamiliar with the process for writing proposals with a seagoing component, and are often unaware of NSF facilities that are available to support seagoing research, such as the shared used equipment, vans and winches.

The CST cruises are specifically designed to reduce these perceived hurdles by providing young oceanographers seagoing experience and research opportunities and by training participants how to plan and execute a successful research cruise, from proposal planning to cruise operations to post-cruise reporting and results dissemination.

The 2014 CST cruise was a south to north transect cruise across the western subtropical Atlantic that took advantage of a six day "deadhead" transit leg from Bridgetown, Barbados to Bermuda. The transit was increased by three days (9 days total at sea; 31 May - 8 June 2014) to provide wire time for science activities. The cruise track crossed a region of the western subtropical Atlantic that is characterized by a number of transitional boundaries between prevailing easterly trade winds in the south, bringing large amounts of Saharan dust into the region, and westerlies in the north. The track crossed the subtropical frontal boundary into the Sargasso Sea gyre and transitioned from permanent surface stratification in the south to winter deep mixing in the north.

Thirteen CST participants (PhD students to junior faculty) were chosen from the applicant pool. The participants were from three UNOLS ship operator institutions (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia Univ., Univ. Delaware, Scripps) and nine non-operator institutions (Univ. California-Irvine, MIT, Univ. North Carolina-Charlotte, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Rutgers Univ., Bigelow Lab, Univ. Maine, Univ. South Florida, Univ. Tenn-Knoxville). The specific research areas of participants are described below in their cruise summaries. In addition, two BATS technicians joined the cruise and participated in the CTD casts to profile POC/PON and nutrients along the transect.
Chief scientistMaureen Conte (Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences)
Cruise reportRV Atlantic Explorer AE1410 (GAc02, UNOLS) cruise report atlanticexplorer_ae1410.pdf (0.09 MB) 
Ocean/sea areas 
GeneralNorth West Atlantic Ocean (limit 40W)
SpecificSubtropical northwest Atlantic; near linear transect between Barbados and Bermuda.
Track chartsRV Atlantic Explorer AE1410 (GAc02, UNOLS) cruise track — atlanticexplorer_ae1410trk.pdf (0.08 MB) 
Data held at BODC 
Discrete samples 
7  CTD frame plus rosette samplerDissolved oxygen parameters in the water column
Salinity of the water column
Temperature of the water column
Radioactivity in water bodies