About the Cruise

A group of 27 scientists, led by Dr. William “Barney” Balch of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, will board the R/V Melville in Punta Arenas, Chile on January 11, 2011, and will arrive 36 days later in Cape Town, South Africa after travelling a distance of 7650 miles (12,311 km) across the Atlantic Ocean.

Scientists participating in the Great Belt Cruise are conducting the first systematic study of the Great Southern Coccolithophore Belt, and seek to understand more about the species of coccolithophores that make up the Great Belt, factors that affect their abundance and distribution, and the impacts of ocean acidification and climate change on the coccolithophores in the Great Belt.

The field observations and experiments will provide important information on the current status of the Great Belt in the context of global biogeochemistry.  The size of the Great Belt indicates that it likely plays a major role in global biogeochemistry and climate change feedbacks. Thus, the investigators expect this work to have broad, transformative impacts in biological and chemical oceanography.

Rebecca Fowler, Director of Education at Bigelow Laboratory, received funding from the National Science Foundation to join the cruise and share the science, research and cruise experience with students and the public through this website and other education and outreach activities.

Collaborative Research: The Great Southern Coccolithophore Belt, and this website, are funded by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences, award number OCE-0961660 to Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.

Whitney King appreciates the opportunity provided by Bigelow to participate on the cruise. Funding for King’s travel and logistics is provided by Colby College and NSF grant OCE-0825762 to Whitney King.

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