Southern Ocean Iron Experiment (SOFeX) Cruise
January 5 - February 26, 2002
Seven MBARI researchers left at the end of December for Christchurch, New Zealand, to embark on one of the largest, most complex research projects ever undertaken by the U.S. oceanographic fleet.
The Southern Ocean Iron Experiment (SOFeX) involves two of the largest ships in the UNOLS fleet, the R/V REVELLEand the R/V MELVILLE operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard Coast Guard Cutter POLAR STAR will participate in the experiment after leaving its duties at the Antarctic U.S. base on McMurdo Sound. The R/V REVELLE left New Zealand on Jan. 6, 2002 to be followed 15 days later by the R/V MELVILLE headed south towards the Antarctic continent. Both ships will be out for approximately six-week cruises concluding back in New Zealand. The POLAR STAR will be leaving McMurdo Sound around Feb. 12 and will berth in Hobart, Tasmania approximately four weeks later.
The SOFeX program involves 76 scientists from 17 different institutions. Dr. Ken Johnson (MBARI) is chief scientist on the R/V REVELLE, Dr. Kenneth Coale (MLML) on the R/V MELVILLE and Dr. Ken Buessler (WHOI) on the POLAR STAR.
The aim of the SOFeX project is to investigate the effects of iron fertilization on the productivity of the Southern Ocean. The results of this work will contribute significantly to our understanding of important biogeochemical processes which bear directly on the global carbon cycle, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, and climate control.
Click on the links to the left to find out more about this exciting cruise!