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Maria VernetMaria Vernet is a marine scientist from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. She has participated in various studies involving phytoplankton ecology and physiology including the effects of ultraviolet radiation on photosynthesis to the grazing by Antarctic krill on coastal phytoplankton. During winter 2008, she studied the ecology of phytoplankton and its role within the marine ecosystem at the Palmer Station Long-Term Ecological Research Network (LTER), and during spring 2009, she investigated the ecology of phytoplankton within the marine ecosystem surrounding floating icebergs. From January 2nd to March 1st, 2010 Maria will be on the icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer in the western Weddell Sea. Here she will collect plankton samples in an area where photosynthesis has occurred only during the last 7 years. During the previous 10,000 years, the area was covered by an ice sheet up to 200 meters thick. The breakup of the ice sheet not only provides sunlight to an area equal to 1.5 million of square kilometers, it gives access to investigate the biological communities in the sea floor and track how they are being altered by the phytoplankton sinking to the bottom.

Project Page: Shedding Light on an Ecosystem in the Dark

All Posts By Maria Vernet

Adios Punta Arenas

ABOARD THE RVIB N. B. PALMER, ON THE SOUTHERN OCEAN-- Adios Punta Arenas, Chile. Hello Research Vessel and Ice Breaker, Nathaniel B. Palmer. We, the crew, support staff and scientists of the NBP Iceberg Cruise III, left port in Punta Arenas on March 6th to begin our 40-day cruise... {Read More »}

Returning to Port

STRAITS OF MAGELLAN-- Today we are arriving in Punta Arenas, Chile at 11am local time. After 8 hours through the Straits of Magellan we have… {Read More »}

Primary Production

SOUTHERN OCAEN-- Phytoplankton were active in these waters during this June cruise. Although ten times lower than in the summer, their rates show an active… {Read More »}

Black Ice

SOUTHERN OCEAN-- Sometimes icebergs contain silt and rocks collected in the continent as the ice moves the mountains down towards the sea, scouring the rock… {Read More »}

End of Our Icebergs

ICEBERG A43K, SOUTHERN OCEAN-- Today is our last day of science. This evening we are leaving at 6pm (or 20 GMT, Greenwich Mean Time, which… {Read More »}

Diving Penguins

ICEBERG A43K, SOUTHERN OCEAN-- Although penguins are not flying birds, we have seen them diving and flying off of icebergs. Chinstrap Penguins will climb onto… {Read More »}

Macronutrients Around the Iceberg

ICEBERG A43K, SOUTHERN OCEAN-- Phytoplankton need dissolved nutrients, such as silicate, phosphate, and nitrate to grow in seawater. Open waters in Antarctica are rich in… {Read More »}

The Ocean’s Carbon Content

ICEBERG A43K, SOUTHERN OCEAN-- Carbon sedimentation in the water, from its surface towards the ocean floor, is expected to increase around icebergs as a consequence… {Read More »}

Iron-Limited Phytoplankton?

ICEBERG A43K, SOUTHERN OCEAN-- The waters of the Southern Ocean are considered High Nutrient Low Chlorophyll (HNLC) waters. In spite of abundant dissolved nitrogen, phosphorus… {Read More »}

Life Around the Iceberg

ICEBERG A43K, SOUTHERN OCEAN-- Many birds, seals and whales are living around Iceberg A43K. We saw several of them as we approached the iceberg two… {Read More »}