MOSAiC Update: Gathering copepods from beneath the Arctic ice

GSO marine research scientist Robert Campbell is in the middle of his two-month leg of the 13-month long MOSAiC expedition—the largest Arctic science expedition in history. Nearly 600 participants from 19 different countries are gathering urgently needed data as they drift with the Arctic ice aboard the research icebreaker Polarstern.

Campbell’s National Science Foundation-funded research was the focus of a recent entry in the daily MOSAiC blog. Under the cover of the polar night’s 24-hour darkness, Campbell is collecting copepods—a species of tiny drifting organisms called zooplankton—to learn more about their lifecycle.

From the blog post:

…he looks for ‘ripe’ females—individuals with eggs developing inside their body, which seem to be ready to release eggs—and incubates them. It is early in the season, so most females do not yet have developing eggs and instead are in a state of hibernation called ‘diapause’ living off their stored fat (lipid) reserves. He found twelve ‘ripe’ females out of hundreds of copepods called Calanus hyperboreus caught with the nets, and three of them already released clutches of 200-400 eggs each.

The next step for Campbell’s research is to follow the development of these eggs to determine how many are viable and how long it takes them to develop to their first feeding stage.

We’ll share more updates from Campbell and other GSO scientists participating in MOSAiC as we receive them. In the meantime, you can follow the MOSAiC blog and also learn more about GSO’s participation in this historic expedition.