Second research vessel calls at Port of Walvis Bay

WALVIS BAY Researchers are studying aspects of the ocean in Namibian waters on board the Dutch owned hi-tech vessel Pelagia.

04 February 2019 | Others

Another research vessel, the Pelagia which is operated by the Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research (NIOZ), visited the Port of Walvis Bay on Thursday.

The Pelagia arrived from Cape Town, South Africa, on an 18-day research cruise during which researchers studied biogeochemical cycling in oxygen-depleted waters off Namibia in the Benguela Upwelling System.

The vessel can accommodate 11 crew members, 12 scientist and 6 technicians. It has two dry labs and a wet lab, and can host up to nine laboratory containers. On board the Pelagia, which is 66 m in length and 13 m wide, all kinds of surveys are carried out.

The most recent research conducted concentrated on microbial cycling and removal of nitrogen species, phosphorus recycling and sedimentary sequestration, water column pathways of trace metals (iron, manganese) and their release from shelf sediments.

Researchers also looked at the potential influence of nitrogen availability on the micro-organisms that produce the lipids used for organic sea surface temperature proxies of paleo-reconstructions.

A description of the research project indicates that the Nambian oxygen minimum zones (OMZ) are the least studied of the major OMZs. Researchers evaluated the biogeochemical functioning of the Namibian OMZ water column and sediments and since many of these transformation reactions are facilitated by microbial activity they also focused on the role micro-organisms play in OMZ nutrient cycling.

OMZs are hotbeds for anaerobic biogeochemical cycling processes that affect global nutrient budgets, including greenhouse gas production, bio-available nitrogen removal, phosphorus burial, and trace metal recycling. As such, it is crucial to better understand the context of these nutrient cycles under oxygen depletion in order to place them within a future scenario of OMZ expansion.

Other equipment carried by the Pelagia includes the remote operated vehicle (ROV) Genesis (VLIZ), a CTD Rosette water sampler, a multi corer capable of operating at debts of 8 000 m, an acoustic Doppler current profiler, deep sea mooring, a piston corer, a deep digging dredge, bottom lander and multi-beam echo sounder.

It is also equipped with a highly advanced bridge navigation system and can spend up to 40 days at sea.

The Royal NIOZ is a Dutch research institute with a global science scope which collaborates with universities and marine research institutes around the globe and offers a great way for employees to expand their research network.

With an integrative scientific approach to ecosystems in oceans, seas and estuaries, the research programmes of Royal NIOZ Texel aim to explore the unexplored for a better understanding of the planet.

More than 300 people of 31 nationalities are working to support science in three research departments at Texel. The focus is on seagoing research, for which the institute uses its own research fleet. This fleet consists of four modern ships, headed by the oceangoing RV Pelagia with the seaport Texel being the home port.

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