Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Moorea Ocean Sampling Day (20 June, 2012)

The island Moorea (French Polynesia) is the home to OSD participant Moorea Ecostation, which combines the two research stations on the island: UC Berkeley’s Gump Station and CNRS-EPHE CRIOBE. The Moorea Ecostation leads the Moorea Genomic Observatory, with OSD as one of its first actions (after the inaugural Transit of Venus sampling).

Like Rothera (Antarctica) we were also sampling at the winter solstice. However we did not quite have the same weather conditions as they had!  The 20th of June was a sunny day, the ocean was calm, a pod of dolphins were enjoying themselves and seagulls were greeting from far when we started our OSD adventure. It was supposed to be a routine and quiet event after our maiden filtering voyage on the 5th of June with Dawn Field (Oxford) and John Deck (Berkeley).

Neil Davies loads up on the GUMP Station’s dock
(Photo: Veronique Berteaux-Lecellier)

The GUMP team, Neil Davies and Frank Murphy, started the engine of the boat around 9:30. They were supported on board by Veronique Berteaux-Lecellier (CRIOBE). Their target was one of the NSF-funded Moorea Coral Reef LTER transects, which has been intensively studied since 2004. This MCR_LTER transect is situated 10mins from the Gump dock on the outer slope of the barrier reef in the middle of the island's north shore - between Cook’s and Opunohu Bays, which are separated by Mount Rotui. Neil sampled 4 times 1l surface water in acid cleaned plastic bottles per station which were immediately stored on ice. Veronique measured the physical parameters, took samples for inorganic nutrient analysis and returned with the bottles to the CRIOBE lab for further processing.

Veronique Berteaux-Lecellier prepares samples under the watchful eyes of Frank Murphy and Mt Rotui (Photo: N. Davies)

The CRIOBE team, Pascal Ung and Melanie Vairaa, took the boat Alu5 to head out to sample at Tiahura, CRIOBE’s long-term monitoring station situated on the outer slope at the western end of the north shore, only 20min away from the CRIOBE. This site has an over forty-year-old observation record history and in 1999 a live probe was installed at 20m depth ( 

Long-term monitoring station Tiahura – CRIOBE (Photo: Veronique Berteaux-Lecellier)

Melanie Varaa took samples for the analysis of inorganic nutrients, in addition to the surface water collection and physical parameter registration.

Patricia Wecker filtered all samples from Moorea by using Sterivex 0.22ym filters (Millipore) at the CRIOBE. Filters were sealed, instantly frozen in liquid nitrogen, stored at -80°C and are ready to be send off. Nutrients will be analyzed at the CRIOBE station.

We look forward to the summer solstice in December 2012 - Moorea Ecostation 


  • GUMP Station - Neil Davies and Frank Murphy (Skipper)
  • CRIOBE - Patricia Wecker, Veronique Berteaux-Lecellier, Pascal Ung (Skipper), Melanie Varaa (field assistant)

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