• October 12, 2021

As we mentioned, the scientific cruise at “Belgica” covers three seas: the North-East Atlantic, the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.

Now the scientific team has finished the work program on the first “sea” (the North-East Atlantic – 1368 nautical miles). Let’s summarize our “sampling successes”. In total, the sampling was done in the five monitoring stations.

The samples of the seawater were taken for further analysis of the pollutants, including wide-scope target screening analysis (>2400 substances) and suspect screening (>65000 substances).

Seawater was also taken for further environmental DNA analysis. Example sources of eDNA floating in seawater include, but are not limited to, feces, mucus, gametes and shed skin. Using this method, the biodiversity of marine species will be assessed. Results of eDNA analyses of samples collected at the uniquely large geographical scale will allow for a better understanding of the transfer of invasive species between the North-East Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black seas and its correlation with the climate change impact.

Last, but not least large-volume samples of seawater were taken for analysis of microplastics.

In the Atlantic Ocean, although it was a bit wavy, the team made the first attempt to get out sediment sample from the depth approx. 500 m. Despite the heroic struggle of the whole scientific team and the vessel crew, the rocky sea bottom told them ‘not this time’.

Finally, the next day the weather conditions improved in the Mediterranean Sea. The first sampling of microplastics and the sea water at depth was done there!