DImethyl Sulphide biogeochemistry within a COccolithophore bloom (DISCO)


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Note: This product contains the BODC Explorer software package which cannot be readily installed, under a 64-bit version of the Microsoft Windows operating system. For more information please see our Explorer software advice page.

Find out more about the DISCO CDROM

  • Download the DISCO CDROM brochure Adobe PDF version of the DISCO CDROM brochure (211 KB)

DISCO was an integrated, multidisciplinary Lagrangian study of the routes, rates and controls on the biogeochemical cycling of dimethyl sulphide (DMS) within a bloom of the coccolithophorid alga, Emiliania huxleyi.

DISCO was funded principally by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and by the UK Defence Evaluation Research Agency (DERA) — now QinetiQ.

BODC provided DISCO data management services and collated the available data sets. The research involved 28 scientists and technicians from eight separate institutions.


The cruise took place between 05 June and 01 July 1999 in the northern North Sea. The biogeochemical process study was preceded by a 52 000 km2 survey of the region in order to locate an Emiliania huxleyi bloom suitable for study. The bloom chosen was labelled with sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) within a patch of 40 km2 initially centred on 58° 56' N, 2° 52' E. During the process study the patch drifted in a south-easterly direction and was eventually subducted under Norwegian coastal water at the end of the process studies on 26 June.

The process study comprised of

  • Analyses of the time-varying physical and optical properties of the patch.
  • Studies of DMS (dimethyl sulphide), DMSP (dimethyl sulphoniopropionate), DMSO (dimethyl sulphoxide), nutrients, halocarbons, methylamines, CO (carbon monoxide), DOC (dissolved organic carbon) and TDN (total dissolved nitrogen).
  • Studies of the role of viruses, bacteria, phytoplankton, micro- and meso-zooplankton in DMS biogeochemical cycling.
  • Studies of the dynamics of primary, new and bacterial production, plankton respiration, zooplankton grazing, and sedimentation in relation to DMS biogeochemical cycling.


The DISCO CDROM package contains the following data sets

  • The DISCO database — a relational database containing data from drifting buoys, CTD profiles, ADCP profiles, underway pump samples, CTD bottles, zooplankton nets, on-deck incubation experiments and XBT profiles.
  • The DISCO underway data set — continuous measurements of sea surface hydrography, meteorology, navigation and bathymetry data made during the DISCO cruise.
  • The DISCO time series data set — moored ADCP data and data from nine temperature miniloggers deployed on a drifting buoy.

The CDROM comes with a comprehensive users' guide and interface software.