Magical sea beasties

Some pictures of the amazing animals that we sampled between the surface and 750 m depth using our biggest net, the RMT25. A mix of sea beasties from your dreams and some from your nightmares…

Scientific engineers at work

Jon driving his favourite winch as dawn breaks

Jon Short (NOC)

On every scientific research cruise there are three distinct groups of people who work together to ensure the successful outcome of the project: the scientific party – who design the experiments, work in the labs and write the scientific papers; the ship’s company – officers, engineers and crew who operate and maintain the deep ocean research vessels that we all go to sea on; and the scientific engineering technicians…

Dennis tours the RRS Discovery!

Anna Belcher (British Antarctic Survey)

Some of you may remember our trusty companion Dennis the penguin from the first COMICS research trip to South Georgia, Antarctica. Well, fortunately for us all, he’s back and is loving his time aboard the Discovery for COMICS II off Namibia.

On Dealing with the Loss of a Bongo Net

Dan Ashurst (BAS)

It was a Monday morning, the sun was shining and Taylor Swift’s latest album was playing out of a set of speakers perched on a step ladder and there was hot debate as to whether it had been one of the best albums of the year or whether it should be thrown overboard.


Dressing up for Science

By Helge Winkelbauer (Heriot Watt University)

Sometimes you have to look a little silly to achieve your goals. Here, the ‘Pelagic Team’ of the COMICS2 cruise is in the trace metal lab of the RRS Discovery ready to produce water samples that are free from trace metal contamination.

The DIY Behind Science at Sea

By Chelsey Baker (NOC)

The stereotypical view of scientists is white lab coats, safety goggles and working in laboratories that have a clinical feel. However, science on a research ship is, in reality, very different. Hardhats, waterproofs, steel toe-capped boots and old clothes are just as important as lab coats and safety goggles.

The great fish rescue

Anna Belcher (BAS)

A successful evening: 5 Pelagras (NOC’s drifting sediment traps) recovered and one fish life saved! As the third Pelagra was being lifted onto the ship, something seemed a little strange…one of the collection funnels was still filled with water…hmmm…wait, what’s that? A fish tail! The team gathered around, and sure enough there was a fish! Wedged in the funnel with its nose poking out the bottom. Word spread like wild fire on the ship and soon Larry the fish had quite an audience. Now just to get him out…

What’s so funny about COMICS anyway?

You might think that COMICS is a strange name for a science programme (we should always take science seriously, right?) but it stands for something very important to us and our planet: Controls over Ocean Mesopelagic Interior Carbon Storage.  The ocean stores large amounts of the carbon dioxide that humans put into the atmosphere, helping to regulate Earth’s climate.  The ocean storage of carbon is helped along by the microscopic plants and animals that live in the ocean – this is known as the biological carbon pump.  Phytoplankton, tiny plants that live in the surface of t

Groundhog Day

It’s 3 am, the phone rings and the day begins. You force yourself into a not-quite-dry immersion suit and boots, get out on deck and grimace as the polar wind blows its choice of rain, hail or snow in your face.

Acoustic calibration

I always enjoy calibrating the acoustic instruments on our research vessels around South Georgia. It usually means taking the ship into a sheltered harbour called Stromness Bay. As you enter the bay you enjoy stunning views of three now uninhabited whaling stations (Leith, Stromness and Husvik), fur seals and penguins huffing and puffing on the beaches, and entertain some small satisfaction of looking at the salvation of Shackleton’s epic rescue of his crew of the Endurance, stranded 800 miles away on Elephant Island.