Category Archives: General information

Change Host

Dear Reader,

The blog has change host, the new address is now: http://medseavillefranche2013.obs-vlfr.fr/

Thanks for your interest,

Best regards.

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Just on time

It’s been 10 Days since we announced the experiment was stopped few days before what we scheduled. Since this date, all the material have been bring back in land (the last buoys just arrived this afternoon). And it was just on time because the passengers ferry season has started. And when one of this big floating building enter the Bay, this one seems to be very tiny. We experienced at the beginning of the experiment how it is to work on mesocosms with a ferry next to us and didn’t really liked it…

The remaining buoys near one of the first passenger ferry of the season!

The remaining buoys near one of the first passenger ferry of the season!

So, in 10 Days the local team did a huge work of destruction and carrying the material to their place. Like for the instalation it has been a bit challenging as our marine station is in very old buildings with stairs, doors and no lift… Here are some of the pictures of the destruction activity:

The first thing we receive in land are the roofs on which only the plastic cover is removed

The first thing we receive in land are the roofs on which only the plastic cover is removed

Then we have to remove all the rings from the plastic cover...all the material which can be re-used has to be taken!

Then we have to remove all the rings from the plastic cover…all the material which can be re-used has to be taken!

And in between 2 activities Justine and Laure create the new fashion collection of the OOV...

And in between 2 activities Justine and Laure create the new fashion collection of the OOV…

After that the very dirty, smelly, sticky activity can start: remove the plastic of the bags of the pipe structure....In total 3 very unlpeasant days...

After that the very dirty, smelly, sticky activity can start: remove the plastic of the bags of the pipe structure….In total 3 very unlpeasant days…

And don't beleive we had perfect weather condition for this last step: the wind and rain are still here!!

And don’t beleive we had perfect weather condition for this last step: the wind and rain are still here!!

The pontoon full of the drum (upper part): we have to deconstruct one by one after a big cleaning!

The pontoon full of the drum (upper part): we have to deconstruct one by one after a big cleaning!

The start of the stack of  smelly non-reusable plastic bags...

The start of the stack of smelly non-reusable plastic bags…

Dear readers,

Forced by the meteorological conditions that we have faced in the last days, we have to stop the experiment. On March 6th, the wind blew at more than 110 km/h, creating lots of waves in the bay. We have continued the experiment for few more days, but we realized something went wrong when looking at the CTD profiles. Although our mesocosms are well covered with a Teflon roof in order to prevent rain to enter inside the bags, we saw that salinity dropped significantly at surface in all mesocosms after March 7th. Divers from LOV inspected the bags and our fear was justified. All of the bags with no exceptions presented many scratches in the first meters. We have considered (and actually tried) lifting up the bags in order to put these scratches above the sea level, but we had to give up as for some of them the bag was deteriorated way too deep below the sea surface. That is very unfortunate, Villefranche bay is a safe sheltered place for more than 350 days a year, our experiment coincided with very windy conditions from the East, allowing waves and swells to enter inside the bay. All is not dark of course, this could have happened at the start of the experiment and all in all I think we have been lucky collecting more than 2 weeks of data.

Now it’s time for us to start removing the mesocosms from the bay, our partners will move back to their home countries in the coming days and will start analysing the precious samples. We’ll come back for more news at a later stage!

Keep posted
F

Example of salinity profiles acquired since the start of the experiment and showing the continuous intrusion of external waters in the bags after the storm of March 6th.

Example of salinity profiles acquired since the start of the experiment and showing the continuous intrusion of external waters in the bags after the storm of March 6th.

The wind keeps blowing

The bad weather conditions continue and forces the different teams to stay on the labs or their rooms. Specially the wind has not been on our side. Yesterday the sampling that was suppose to take place at 8:30 was delayed until 12:30 and today`s is completely cancelled. In the morning we could hear the wind blowing strong and making things fly away in Nice. Up to 26 kts are expected, and this is sufficient to create waves that are difficult to handle during sampling.

Weather 2013-03-06 at 5.33.21 PM

Map of the wind forecast from: http://en.windfinder.com/forecast/nice

Security of all participants comes first, and nobody wants to fall in the waters of 12 – 13°C

So far, the panorama for tomorrow looks very different and we expect to have the normal  early morning and 8:30 samplings.

Laid up for one day

When the wind come into the bay ....

When the wind come into the bay ….

For the 8th day of the experimental period we have been obliged to stay on land due to bad weather condition. The wind from North-East enter the Bay since this morning and it’s too dangerous to go sampling on our ‘cubis’. These platforms are 80cm above sea level so, when there is 50cm of short waves it make everything more complicated!!. So today was a ‘day off’. Well, not for everyone.

Actually at 6.30am, Alex and Laure (the incubation team) have been able to bring back the incubations and so, work on their samples. The incubations are bottles containing water sampled into the mesocosms the day before and kept for 24hours to measure process such as Primary Production (amount of biomass produced by microorganisms per day) or nitrogen fixation (see Lisa post). Other processes are measured by the early morning team (Mauro, Aggeliki) but don’t need to go back in situ.

Microlayer sampling similar to "roller coaster" this day!

Microlayer sampling similar to “roller coaster” this day!

It wasn’t a day off neither for the 8am team who had time to sample before the weather get worst!

We all hope that tomorrow we are going to be able to sample in good conditions!!

All you need is…(1) (by Anastasia)

So, yes, it’s true, another mesocosm experiment is on the go! Kind of harder this time, if you consider the cold, the wind, the amount of analyses being done, and… the local boats that transfer tourists back and forth from the cruise ship several times! Just to provoke us that they are on holidays!

Passenger ferry entering into the bay and soon followed by boats transfer passenger doing waves and taunting us by being in holidays!!

Passenger ferry entering into the bay and soon followed by boats transfer passenger doing waves and taunting us by being in holidays!!

Cold is undoubtedly the worst enemy, not only during the sampling process, but also in general, as people during wintertime need more energy (more food, more sleep… or is it only my feeling??). Energy is flying away from our bodies a bit more easily this time in Villefranche and, after only a few days of work, exhaustion is apparent! However, this is just the ‘not-so-nice’ part of the experiment. The major part is an exciting event with new and old members participating, a lot of memories and many happy and funny moments. Exploring the city in the search for dinner (as the restaurant nearby is closed, which actually didn’t disappoint us too much…let’s be honest!) as well as in the search for super markets, which are all far far away from the port!

It’s a unique experience after all that for sure gets better day by day. People are now settled down in their labs and things are more convenient than at the beginning, when a slight panic feeling overcame many of us (hm was it me?). Just joking. Positive thinking is all we need! And love (don’t forget about it even when sampling!), as the song says…