Eddy Pump II: sampling and analysis on-board

In order to avoid sample contamination during sampling, we are using a Kevlar line where our Go-Flo bottles are placed. Once all the bottles are in the water we send a Teflon made messenger that closes one by one the bottles at the chosen depth. Once back in the deck, bottles are placed in our Go-Flo trolley and taken into the lab to be sampled inside the clean bubble.





My purpose, together with Luis Laglera is to measure dissolved and bioavailable iron. Respect to dissolved Fe, we are measuring different species as Fe (II) and Fe (III) with two different flow injection methods with chemiluminescence detection. In addition, Luis is measuring total dissolved and bioavailable iron by means of polarography.

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Eddy Pump I: setting up of laboratories and sampling bottles

As I told you in my previous blog, I am working onboard the research vessel Polarstern from the Alfred Wegener Institute. I am participating in the Eddy Pump research project that will take place from the 7th January to 11th March 2012 from CapeTown (South Africa) to Punta Arenas (Chile). The study area will be composed by a few biogeographical provinces in the Southern Ocean and their response to different nutrients composition in the water column. Among this nutrients, dissolved iron will be crucial.

During the first week we have been setting up the clean labs and equipments and checking the Go-Flo bottles that will be used to collect our samples. Until you start working on-board, you cannot imagine how difficult it can be to install everything in perfect conditions for analysis purposes but also to avoid any accident because of the boat’s movements. As we will be measuring iron on board, the cares we have to take in order to avoid sample contamination are huge … and even huger if you pretend to analyze iron on board a metal made ship!

In the next pictures you can see the clean bubble made by Luis and me where sampling of the Go-Flo bottles will take place. We have managed to improvise a mobile structure to transport all the Go-Flos from the deck to the lab avoiding any iron contamination.

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Next Station…. ANTARCTICA!

During the next couple of months, I will be participating in a scientific sampling cruise in the Southern Ocean organized by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI). Our research will be focused on the impact of iron over the phytoplancton communities and the climate change.

Here I leave you a picture of my living place until 11th March 2012…..the R/V Polarstern.


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FIA-Chemiluminescence system ready for Antarctica

During the last 3 weeks I have been visiting Dr. Laglera´s lab in the University of the Balearic Islands. The challenge was simple: set up the dissolved iron determination method by means of flow injection analysis with chemiluminescence detection (FIA-CL).

As the system was assembled from scratch, piece by piece, things were slowly during the first days, but after some tests and big efforts, the method started to run and it worked! In the following figure a standard calibration curve with sub-nanomolar levels is reported.


The system was taken to pieces and packed. It is now travelling to Cape Town waiting to be re-assembled in January to measure dissolved iron concentrations in Antarctic waters on board Polarstern!

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Thanks to all the visitors for their interest on the website!

After 15 days from the official inauguration of my personal webpage, more than 1300 page loads from around 220 different people have been registered. I just have to say thank you everybody for their interest! I promise that I will upload new contents and news every week! See you soon!

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