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Northwest Africa Ecosystem survey

20.10.2011 R/V Nansen started its 62 days long survey along the coast of Northwest Africa, from Conakry in Guinea up to the Gibraltar strait in north. The survey is an ecosystem survey and different survey techniques will be used to provide a holistic overview of the ecosystem. In addition to the Norwegian staff, 32 persons from 8 different countries will participate on this cruise.

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2nd Cruise Diary from the NWA ecosystem Survey

This is our second cruise diary. The survey is well underway. We are now in Guinea Bissau and have been away for about one week since we left port in Conakry on the 20/10 in the evening. All together we are 17 scientists onboard and two instrument engineers.

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3rd Cruice Diary: Plankton and environmental monitoring

During this leg of the cruise Bjørn Krafft (Institute of Marine Research, IMR, Norway) and Ivance Monteiro (National Institute for Fisheries Development- INDP, Republic of Cape Verde) collect data that are analyzed for marine nutrients, chlorophyll, pheopigments, phytoplankton and zooplankton. They also analyze data used to calibrate instruments operated from the ship to gather information on physical and biological oceanographic properties (Conductivity, Temperature and Depth (CTD), saturated oxygen, chlorophyll and fluorescence).

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4th Cruise Diary: Seeking the unknown benthic fauna of the North-West Africa

Since the visit of the 'Challenger' in 1878, many research vessels have explored the coasts of northwest Africa and collected fish and invertebrates from its depths. To the mythical expeditions with the 'Travailleur' and 'Talisman', the 'Valdivia', the 'Princesse Alice I', 'Hirondelle II ', the' Michael Sars' or 'Discovery', we can add others, such as the'Atlantide ' the' Calypso ', the Dutch surveys' CANCAP 'or the 'French expedition' Balgim-84, that more recently have traveled the coasts of the Gulf of Guinea, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde, seeking further knowledge on the fauna of the region.

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5th Cruise Diary: Keeping a watchful eye on the horizon - Visual observations of seabirds and marine mammals

The length of the Nansen cruise between Dakar and Agadir is the second for the CCLME project to include dedicated bird observations, following the June cruise around Cape Verde. Whilst the numbers of breeding and wintering waterbirds at key sites along the coast of the CCLME are reasonably well known, there is very little information on birds out of sight of land. A few pioneering gps and satellite tagging projects are beginning to show how several species of shearwaters use the CCLME.

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6th Cruise Diary:Bottom trawl catches

R/V Fridtjof Nansen left Nouadhibou harbor in Mauretania the 16’Th of November loaded with excited scientists from 6 nations (Senegal, Mauretania, Morocco, Spain, UK and Norway). Since it has been change of crew and scientific personnel at the same time, it does take some time before everybody get into all the routines, get familiar with each other and the work onboard, but now we are on track.

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7th Cruise Diary: Surveillance of plankton and environmental variables in the coastal waters of northwest Africa

The continental shelf of northwest Africa is a well-known upwelling area, sustaining large fisheries on pelagic species. The upwelling implies cool nutrient-rich sub-surface waters replacing the warmer nutrient-poor waters in the coastal surface layers. Phytoplankton primary production takes place in the upper waters since light-levels there are sufficient for photosynthesis.

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8th Cruise Diary: Impressions from the northwest-Africa ecosystem cruise with Dr. Fridtjof Nansen

After working together on R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen for two weeks, it is time to say goodbye to our five Moroccan colleagues. Conducting an Ecosystem surveys demands a tremendous effort. We are therefore grateful to all the people that have participated in the surveys. Without your dedication and professionally it would not have been possible to collect such a huge amount of samples in such a good quality and within such a short time. “Team Norway” whish you the best for the future and hope that you have found the time onboard inspiring and useful.

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9th Cruise Diary: New and exciting findings

Our 60 day long cruise along the North West coast of Africa is soon coming to an end. So far we have conducted more than 250 bottom trawl catches. In these we have recorded more than 470 different fish species, belonging to more than 120 families. In addition we have collected about 1000 different invertebrate species, belonging to almost all phyla: sponges, cnidarians, molluscs, crustaceans, echinoderms.

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Weekly reports

Here you can read the crewmembers weekly reports from the survey.