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Expeditions

All Aboard: how you can be a part of our research blog

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Hi there! I'm Rose, a science journalist and producer. I live in Brooklyn now, where I write, produce and generally try to explain science-y things. But in a few weeks, I'll be writing to you from somewhere far, far away from Brooklyn: the North Atlantic Ocean.

That's me, your trusty guide, on the left. And our research boat, the R/V Knorr, on the right.

I’m heading out to sea with a research group trying to learn about a globally important type of phytoplankton called coccolithophores, and a virus that routinely attacks them. The two are locked in an arms race for survival, and this intimate, small-scale interaction has huge implications for ocean ecology, geochemistry, cloud cover, and the global carbon cycle.

To study these interactions in more detail, a diverse team of scientists from all over the world will be boarding the R/V Knorr in two weeks and sailing from San Miguel in the Azores (a group of small islands far off the coast of Portugal) into the North Atlantic towards Iceland. Along the way, they'll collect samples, perform experiments, and use various tools – like satellites – to find blooms of these little plankton.

The plankton in question, Emiliania huxleyi and the blooms it creates, seen from space.

Where do I come in? While they collect data on the phytoplankton, I’ll be collecting data on them, and keeping you updated on their work, my seasickness, and everything in between. (I'll try to keep the pirate jokes to a minimum, but I can't promise anything.) If you've ever wanted to know what it's like to live on a boat for a month and how scientists do what they do, this is your blog.

But before we leave, I need your help. What should I ask the scientists? What do you want to know about this research trip? Or about phytoplankton? About the ship? Ask me, and I’ll ask them. You can send an email to vicequestions@gmail.com with your questions, click here, or just fill out the form below.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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