SPC, in collaboration with IRD, is engaging in a new series of oceanographic cruises across the Pacific to characterise the western and central Pacific Ocean including the Warm Pool, onboard RV Alis, which gave the name of the cruise series: WARMALIS.
Warmalis 1 is the first cruise that will cross the western Pacific from south to north, departing from Noumea in New Caledonia, finishing in Kosrae in the Federated States of Micronesia, and crossing Solomon Islands and International waters.
Warmalis 2 and Warmalis 3 will be conducted in 2022 and 2023, in the central Pacific (south-north transect from French Polynesia to Kiribati Line Islands), and at the Equator (east-west from French Polynesia to Papua-New Guinea) respectively.
The objective of the project is to understand the functioning of the pelagic ocean ecosystem and determine its influence on tuna resources in the western and central Pacific region. Our project will study the mid-trophic levels (zooplankton and micronekton) of the large pelagic ecosystems of the Pacific where more than 50% of the global tuna catches are produced. Zooplankton and micronekton are components linking the physical/chemical factors of the ocean, which influence their distribution and abundance, with the megafauna (e.g. tuna, marine mammals, seabirds) which are their predators. The aim of our project is to fill the important gap in knowledge on the large pelagic ecosystems of the Pacific. Our goal is to bring scientific knowledge for a sustainable management of the pelagic resources by understanding the functioning of the pelagic ecosystems (from physics to intermediate levels) and by collecting observations to validate and improve ecosystem models used to analyse the tuna resources (SEAPODYM).
The Warmalis cruises are multidisciplinary, and we will collect seawater physical and chemical data as well as data on zooplankton and micronekton. To characterise physico-chemical conditions and primary production, we will measure temperature, salinity, oxygen, fluorescence, light, currents, nutrients, photosynthetic pigments, phytoplankton abundance, primary production, phytoplanktonic communities. Secondary production (zooplankton, micronekton) will be measured with acoustic (TAPS, WBAT, S-ADCP, EK60) and net sampling of zooplankton and micronekton.
Starting on 6th of September, the cruise will last 19 days during which 15 sampling stations will be visited, before reaching Kosrae around 24th of September. After a quick stop to refuel but no landing, the vessel will turn back to steam towards Noumea in around 10 days.
This cruise, in the framework of the MICROPAC project, is conducted with the financial support of the French ministry of armed forces (Direction des patrimoines, de la mémoire et des archives), the French ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (Pacific Fund), the French oceanographic fleet, the French ministry of studies, research and innovation, the LEFE-INSU, SPC and IRD.
2021 September 2
Four days before departure, the scientific team and the crew are busy preparing the vessel for a 1-month trip in complete autonomy. It means embarking a lot of food for 18 people, spare parts for the mechanics, and all the scientific equipment.
It took us the full day to get everything onboard, test all the instruments and making sure they work, and fixating everything no nothing moves when sea gets rough. We feel ready and are looking forward to starting the trip after months of preparation and a lot of uncertainty with the covid pandemic.
We received a lot of help to get prepared and to make sure this cruise gets conducted and we are grateful to everybody.