SEA-EU cruise - education, learning and above all cooperation

The SEA-EU cruise has educational and scientific value, but its most important value is to strengthen the ties between Europe's coastal universities. During the second leg (from Kiel to Brest), scientists from four different research centres are on board the r/v Oceanograf. Kseniia Andrieieva, Jerome Goslin, Ruben Rios and Dr Adam Sokołowski, Prof. UG, tell us how they are working together.

Ruben Rios - Technical employee, University of Cadiz

I am a member of the scientific crew in the position of a technician. My main task is collecting samples using Mulitnet, but I also help with other equipment such as van Veen scoop, Manta Net and WP2 net. I have a degree in Environment and Marine Science, so I have a very wide range of knowledge that allows me to work with a lot of measuring and research equipment. I work in the Department of Biology at the University of Cadiz and I work in ecology. In that job, I operated similar equipment, so my university sent me on this cruise. I am very sorry that in a few days I will have to leave the r/v Oceanograf. The crew of this ship is like family to me. Thanks to the scientists here, I have learned what it is like to work in a large team. Everything during this cruise has exceeded my expectations.

Kseniia Andreieva - PhD student from Odessa University

This is my first research cruise and it is a great opportunity for me to gain new skills. I learned about the opportunity to participate in this expedition from my university, Odessa University, where I am currently doing my PhD at the Department of Geography and Geology. After the outbreak of war in my country, I moved to Germany with my mother and sister, so I could take part in the stage from Kiel to Brest. I am most interested in the microplastics project. I watch how scientists take and prepare samples. It's good to see the practical side of our profession. Here, it's mostly men who go out to sea and women who analyse the samples in the lab. So I really like it here. After four months of crazy days, I feel calm for the first time. 

Jerome Goslin - researcher at Ifremer, an institute linked to the University of Brest 

I work at Ifremer, an institute for marine exploration based in Brest. My task during this expedition is to collect sediment samples from the seabed at the mouth of major rivers in Western Europe. After the cruise, my institute and the University of Brest will analyse samples of the first two centimetres of sediment from the seabed for microplastics. I have enjoyed working with the research team on board over the last few days. I hope that this whole project will strengthen the relationship between our research centres. Cruises like this are a very good idea. The only challenge might be the bad sea conditions during which it is difficult to collect samples. Maybe in the future we can plan even longer cruises. The current expedition is only 3 weeks, so we had to miss some positions. More time would have allowed us to collect more samples and therefore get more accurate results. But these are challenges for future expeditions, the SEA-EU cruise is a good start.

dr hab. Adam Sokołowski, prof. UG - scientist, University of Gdańsk

During the cruise I am responsible for coordination of research works within the microplastics research project. I am also responsible for data entry into the so-called survey log, i.e. a document with basic information concerning the conducted measurements such as date, research station, exact geographical position, currently used research apparatus and number of samples collected with one device. Directly on board I am involved in collecting environmental samples from the water's surface with Multinet plankton nets and surface bottom sediments with a van Veen scoop for microplastics and other contaminants. Fish larvae, jellyfish or crustaceans often fall into our nets by accident. At the moment it is difficult to determine how much microplastic is in the material we have collected. Detailed analyses are planned only after the cruise. At the University of Gdańsk we will analyse samples collected with the WP2 network, while other SEA-EU universities will deal with material collected with other tools.

Marcel Jakubowski / Press Office UG