Category Archives: Preparation

The mesocosms are in!

Since Friday, the nine mesocosms are installed on site and they’ve been deployed. That’s mean that the divers have detached the bags from the drum and fill the bags with the surrounding seawater. And finally the bags have been closed at the bottom with the sediment trap system (we’ll soon detail more our home made mesocosms in ‘About the project’).
Now we can see them from the road and do nice pictures!

Mesocosms view from the Corniche

Mesocosms view from the Corniche

We still have lot to do before starting sampling inside. First sampling are planed for the end of the week (21st). For the next days, we’ll have to acidify everyday by adding ‘acid’ water into the bags. We also have to finish to prepare the laboratories. Not that easy to fit all the scientists with their material!!

3 by 3 the mesocosms have left the pontoon

Teams are launching the last mesocosms of one cluster.

Teams are launching the last mesocosms of one cluster.

After the bad weather of Monday, sun is back in Villefranche! In two days we have been able to install all the mesocosms at sea. They are now all set in front of the station (thanks to all the guys who have sea side view for the pictures!) for more than one month. This step require a good synchronicity between shore and sea teams.

Preliminary work for the diver team, was to install 11 anchors of 2m, by hand at 21m depth. Than they had to install the buoys at the surface. When 3 mesocosms are ready (shore team), from the pontoon we give them the mesocosms and they attach them together before towing on site. For the shore team, once all what we explained yesterday (preparing drums and bags) is ready we just have attach the bag to the drum. However it’s not that easy because we first have to deploy the whole bag on the pontoon.

A group of mesocosms being tow by the Vellele.

A group of mesocosms being tow by the Vellele.

One bag deployed on the pontoon

One bag deployed on the pontoon

The group is very happy of the good weather condition (except maybe Monday…) and the fact we can keep the schedule. The next two days will start an another important step: deploying and close the bags…

Perfect conditions to start the MedSeA mesocosms experiment....

Perfect conditions to start the MedSeA mesocosms experiment….

Cold and snow during mesocosms construction….

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Samir preparing the bags under sleet

Even if we are working in Mediterranean Sea, extreme weather condition events can happen … today we had to build 3 new mesocosms under rain which was nearly snow (sleet)! It change a lot from what we had in Stareso where we had high temperature (25-30°C). But the view from the pontoon worth all the freezing hands and wet feet! The weather didn’t delay the progress in land but we couldn’t put the 3 first (ready since Friday) to the sea. However this part (put them to the sea) is relatively fast so we should keep the schedule!

Margaux, Samir and Justine assembling a bag with its 'drum'

Margaux, Samir and Justine assembling a bag with its ‘drum’

It’s also time to let you know about the progress we did since February 1st (when the experiment officially start!). First of all was to build what we call the drum: it’s the upper part of the mesocosms. This was relatively easy and fast like playing with giant Lego! In one day we were able to do the 9!

The drum on the pontoon

The drum on the pontoon

The bags need to be equipped at the bottom with a circle and a net to allow the bag to fill with water but without big organisms such as jelly fish or small larvae. This step required high artistic skills to draw lines, cut the bag and attach the net. Only a women team can do it properly!!

Justine and Laure preparing one bag

Justine and Laure preparing one bag

Justine and Laure attaching the net to the circle

Justine and Laure attaching the net to the circle

But this, also imply to carry everything…

Amélie and Laure carrying one bag ready

Amélie and Laure carrying one bag ready

MedSeA mesocosms meeting

Six months after the end of the first MedSeA mesocosms experiment (Corsica-June/July 2012), it was time for us to meet again. Last week on Tuesday we have presented to each other our first results and Wednesday we have prepared the next experiment which will start in a month from now.
Lots of work have still to be done to show our results to the scientific community, as some of us are still collecting data. However, some interesting outcomes gave us ideas for the next experiment. It was a pleasure to discuss during the second day of the meeting about the sampling teams, the water volume and sampling types, the laboratories equipment, … The only “bad” point is that our partners realised that the water temperature will be around 13°C at this period and not above 23°C as we had in Stareso… We will have to equip ourselves with wet suit, gloves, …

Corsica view from Nice, it happen very  few but it's magic!

Corsica view from Nice, it happen very few but it’s magic!

We are going to start the building of the mesocosms and the installation of the anchors in early February. All partners will arrive on February 15th to start setting up their laboratories. If everything goes well, we’ll start sampling on February 21st and it will last for more than a month!