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Another change of scientific crew is completed

Another change of scientific crew is completed

After the research vessel “Dr Fridtjof Nansen” finalized the main survey off Mozambique the 10th November it has been engaged in studies of localities that for different reasons are either considered “hotspots” of marine biodiversity or zones where little knowledge exist.

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Exploring an ocean paradise

Exploring an ocean paradise

The St. Lazarus Bank is a shallow seamount situated in the Mozambique channel, Western Indian Ocean, about 100 nautical miles east of the northern Mozambique coast. It has some unique physical and biological characteristics making it a very peculiar place on earth, a biodiversity hotspot, and a paradise for both the organisms living there and those having the possibility to study them.

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The first week of the survey

The first week of the survey

It is a good feeling to have the Indian Ocean gently tossing us up and down while we are busy recording its secrets from the deep. Not everybody felt so when we headed into the southeast trade wind leaving Maputo a week ago. For a day or two it seemed as we had forgotten some of our scientists in the harbour, given many empty seats at the dinner table.

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Fisheries assistance to developing countries

Fisheries assistance to developing countries

When reading about our survey and our scientific results it is important not to forget that above everything else the surveys with Dr. Fridtjof Nansen are part of a larger development program. One of the most important tasks onboard is the exposure and training of local scientists and technicians to the various methodologies used during these surveys. This weeks report is written by the local cruise leader. It deals with the training aspects of the surveys from the Mozambique scientist’s point of view.

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The main survey is completed

The main survey is completed

R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen arrived Pemba Friday afternoon and the main survey of the marine ecosystem in Mozambique is now completed! Since the start of the survey in Maputo 27 September we have covered the whole coast between the borders to South Africa and Tanzania, and sailed near 6000 nautical miles. Despite a delay of two days of waiting for permission to enter the port of Beira due to bad weather, we have fulfilled the cruise according to the survey plan.

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New scientists onboard

New scientists onboard

Last week we experienced that the sea is not always nice and calm along the Mozambiquian coast. Due to strong wind and rough sea the port of Beira was closed for two days, and the planned change of scientists was postponed accordingly.

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The Segunda Archipelago and the Zambezi river flats

The Segunda Archipelago and the Zambezi river flats

There is an old saying that seeing is believing, while actually seeing is interpreting. We have seen a variety of complex habitats including corral reefs, underwater sea canyons and mud flats. Now it is our task to interpret how these habitats function.

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Survey summary

Survey summary

All good things must come to an end, and in the evening 20th December “Dr Fridtjof Nansen” called port in Maputo. An 85 days long survey with ecosystem surveillance and specialized studies of the waters off Mozambique was finished, and with the promises of a new survey next year we said goodbye to our new friends.

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Surveying the marine ecosystem in Mozambique with R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen

Surveying the marine ecosystem in Mozambique with R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen

With a new crew and many new scientists onboard “Dr. Fridtjof Nansen” left Maputo and headed northwards late afternoon 11 October. The local time in Mozambique is two hours behind UTC time, but due to its eastern location it gets dark around 6 am and not before long the sight of the beautiful Mozambiquan coast disappeared in the night.

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From sub-tropic to tropical waters

From sub-tropic to tropical waters

After 26 days at sea and with more than 3700 nautical miles sailing we have according to climate zone definitions left the sub-tropic region in the south and entered the tropical waters off Mozambique. However, we have not observed any marked difference in the weather, catch composition of fish and invertebrates in the trawl, or in the oceanographic conditions between the climate zones.

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