WARMALIS 3 - Journal & logbook

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Warmalis 3 is the third campaign in this series to be carried out as part of the MICROPAC project, the micronekton of the Pacific. The previous Warmalis 1 and Warmalis 2 campaigns, in 2020 and 2021 respectively, explored the western and central Pacific from south to north.

This year, we're crossing the Pacific from east to west, from Papeete in French Polynesia to Kavieng in Papua New Guinea. This campaign will take place along the equator. Given the distance covered, we'll be making a port call in Tarawa, Kiribati, dividing the mission into two 3-week sections. The port call will allow us to replenish the ship with food and fuel, and we'll also take the opportunity to change the scientific team.

Cruise planned track

Scheduled cruise plan for Warmalis 3.

The objective of the project is to understand the functioning of the pelagic ocean ecosystem and determine its influence on tuna resources in the western and central Pacific region. Our project will study the mid-trophic levels (zooplankton and micronekton) of the large pelagic ecosystems of the Pacific where more than 50% of the global tuna catches are produced. Zooplankton and micronekton are components linking the physical/chemical factors of the ocean, which influence their distribution and abundance, with the megafauna (e.g. tuna, marine mammals, seabirds) which are their predators. The aim of our project is to fill the important gap in knowledge on the large pelagic ecosystems of the Pacific. Our goal is to bring scientific knowledge for a sustainable management of the pelagic resources by understanding the functioning of the pelagic ecosystems (from physics to intermediate levels) and by collecting observations to validate and improve ecosystem models used to analyse the tuna resources (SEAPODYM).

Example microneckton Warmalis 2

Example of micronekton catch during Warmalis2 with gelatinous organisms and small fish and shrimps commonly eaten by tuna and other top predators (Photo : V. Allain, SPC-IRD).

The Warmalis cruises are multidisciplinary, and we will collect seawater physical and chemical data as well as data on zooplankton and micronekton. To characterise physico-chemical conditions and primary production, we will measure temperature, salinity, oxygen, fluorescence, light, currents, nutrients, photosynthetic pigments, phytoplankton abundance, primary production, phytoplanktonic communities. Secondary production (zooplankton, micronekton) will be measured with acoustic (TAPS, WBAT, AZFP, S-ADCP, EK60) and net sampling of zooplankton and micronekton.

Starting on September 25, 2023 from Papeete, we will have 5 days of transit before reaching the equator. We plan to make 14 sampling stations on this first leg before arriving in Tarawa on October 18. After a short stopover, the boat will set sail again on October 19 to continue westward, and 17 sampling stations are planned for this second leg, arriving in Kavieng on November 8.

Our previous campaigns were carried out aboard the Alis, a research vessel in the French oceanographic fleet, which retired in 2022 after our WARMALIS 2 campaign. This year's campaign will be carried out on the Antea, a 35m catamaran built in 1995 and part of the French oceanographic fleet.

The Antea vessel

R/V Antea at quay in Nouméa port in 2023 (Photo: E. Vourey, SPC-IRD)

This cruise, in the framework of the MICROPAC project, is conducted with the financial support of the French ministry of armed forces (Direction des patrimoines, de la mémoire et des archives), the French ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (Pacific Fund), the French oceanographic fleet, SPC and its funding agencies and IRD.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 September 2023 10:05
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