RRS James Clark Ross JR18003

Cruise summary report

Cruise Info. 
Ship name (ship code)RRS James Clark Ross (74JC)
Cruise identifierJR18003
Cruise period2018-12-02 — 2018-12-31
Port of departureMare Harbour, Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
Port of returnPunta Arenas, Chile
ObjectivesJR18003 on the RRS James Clark Ross integrated science from three funded programs, three CASS programs and several bolt on collaboration projects. It included scientists from 14 institutes across the UK, US, Chile, Italy, Japan, Canada, Norway and Falkland Islands. The work on board started with a marine bathymetry survey and benthic sampling along the Burdwood Bank as part of a Darwin Plus funded project involving the South Atlantic Environment Research institute (SAERI) and British Antarctic Survey (BAS). The aim was to gather data to help inform management decisions regarding Falkland Island Government marine spatial planning. The two expert marine geophysical scientists on board as part of the ICEBERGS program were key in maximising the data quality collected over the limited time of the survey.

The main component of the expedition were the ICEBERGS and RACETRAX programs. ICEBERGS is a 3 year NERC-CONICYT funded grant to University of Concepción (Chile), University of Exeter, Bangor University and BAS. The project was to better understand through quantitative sampling the effects of glacial retreat on marine biological systems. The diverse team includes geologists, marine geochemists, biochemists, marine ecologists, oceanographers, evolutionary biologists, hydrographers and paelontologists. In the early stages of preparation the RACETRAX project, written to integrate into ICEBERGS, was awarded to Dr Amber Annett (University of Southampton), further diversifying the scope of ICEBERGS. The RACETRAX project aims to identify and characterise the nutrient mineral availability and origins in each of the fjord systems.

Three CASS funded projects added extra dimensions to the work at each of the fjords. The OCTONAUT project (Dr Katy Sheen) investigates the oceanographic processes contributing to melting icesheets and regulating discharge of melt water. The key piece of equipment contributed to the program was the VMP to assess turbulence mixing and was to be deployed between CTD casts. We were able to dedicate blocks of time to the VMP team in order to conduct transects across shallow sills increasing the spatial and temporal resolution of the study. The GLARE project (James Williams on board) closely integrated with RACETRAX and OCTONAUT as it aimed to measure concentrations of rare earth elements in the water column across meltwater gradients. Finally, PalaeoMAP (Dr Sev Kender) aimed to examine the retreat rate of glaciers by examining deep (3m) sediment cores taken from each fjord. Although a single core would have been useful from each location, 5 cores were taken from Marian Cove and Börgen Bay, and 7 from Sheldon Cove.

Several small self-funded projects completed the diverse science conducted on board. A continuation of the microplastics project (from filtered water and sediment cores) was undertaken by Dr Tina Whittaker on behalf of Dr Alexis Janosik. Dr Anna Pienkowski continued her micropalaeo work from last year. Dr Liqiang Zhao is investigating the origins of the carbon in the water to better understand the origins of carbon in bivalve shells. Microbial diversity at each station is to be investigated by Dr Carmen Falagan Rodriguez from samples taken on board by Dr Alejandro Roman Gonzalez.

In summary, the cruise achieved all the predetermined scientific objectives, and exceeded expectations for most collectors. This is largely down to the excellent cooperation between the ship’s crew and the scientists on board.
Chief scientistChester J Sands (British Antarctic Survey)
ProjectImpacts of deglaciation on benthic marine ecosystems in Antarctica (ICEBERGS)
Coordinating bodyUniversity of Exter; University of Concepción
Cruise reportRRS James Clark Ross JR18003 cruise report jr18003.pdf (5.91 MB) 
Ocean/sea areas 
GeneralSouthern Ocean
SpecificScotia Sea, Bellingshausen Sea
Track chartsRRS James Clark Ross JR18003 cruise track — jr18003trk.pdf (0.78 MB) 
Physical oceanography 
Surface measurements underway (T,S)Quantity: number of samples = 48
Description: Underway samples were taken for salinity, and O18 at Marian Cove, Börgen Bay and Sheldon Cove
CTD stationsQuantity: number of profiles = 36
Description: CTD casts were conducted at Burdwood Bank, Marian Cove, Börgen Bay and Sheldon Cove
Other physical oceanographic measurementsQuantity: number of profiles = 162
Description: Vertical Mixed Profile (VMP) deployments conducted at Marian Cove, Börgen Bay and Sheldon Cove
Biology and fisheries 
PhytoplanktonQuantity: number of hauls = 24
Description: N70 plankton net deployments at Marian Cove, Börgen Bay and Sheldon Cove
ZoobenthosQuantity: number of hauls = 10
Description: Agassiz Trawl deployments Marian Cove, Börgen Bay and Sheldon Cove
Geology and geophysics 
GrabQuantity: number of hauls = 95
Description: Hamon Grab deployments at Marian Cove, Börgen Bay and Sheldon Cove
Core - soft bottomQuantity: number of cores = 59
Description: Multicore deployments at Marian Cove, Börgen Bay and Sheldon Cove
Core - soft bottomQuantity: number of cores = 16
Description: Gravity core deployments at Marian Cove, Börgen Bay and Sheldon Cove
Multi-beam echosoundingQuantity: number of surveys = 389
Description: Multibeam bathymetry was taken from Burdwood Bank, Marian Cove, Börgen Bay and Sheldon Cove
Single channel seismic reflectionQuantity: number of surveys = 19
Description: TOPAS surveys were conducted at Burdwood Bank, Marian Cove, Börgen Bay and Sheldon Cove
Data held at BODC 
Discrete samples 
36  CTD frame plus rosette sampler