The measurements are made during the fortnight of each month and the information collected will be made available in the databases managed by the IDEAL Center.
A new monthly monitoring was carried out at the Punta Santa Ana Station (EPSA) in the Strait of Magellan as part of the work carried out since 2018 within the framework of the research line “Pelagic processes in a changing ocean” of the Center for Dynamic Research in High Latitude Marine Ecosystems (IDEAL) from the Austral University of Chile (UACh).
The campaign responds to a multi and interdisciplinary work, where researchers from the Institute of Marine and Limnological Sciences (ICML), Laboratory of Biological Oceanography (LOCEB) and Institute of Aquaculture of the same house of studies also participate; Laboratory of Fisheries Oceanography and Larval Ecology (LOPEL) of the University of Concepción (UdeC); the Marine Chemistry Laboratory of the Patagonia Ecosystem Research Center (CIEP); and the Fisheries Development Institute (IFOP) of Magallanes.
The monthly monitoring, which is generally carried out during the fortnight of each month, involves visiting the marine point called Punta Santa Ana Marine Station in the Strait of Magellan, embarking from Mansa Bay thanks to the support of the captain and crew of the vessel ” Huracán”.
To collect the necessary information, the researchers carry out three key steps to obtain samples, where they are supported by Emilio Alarcón, marine biologist and head of the laboratory at the IDEAL Center in Punta Arenas.
“On board the vessel we carry out vertical casts of an oceanographic instrument that records the physicochemical conditions of variables such as the temperature and salinity of the Strait of Magellan. The data is measured from the surface to approximately 200 meters deep,” explains Alarcón.
“In addition, at the same point, oceanographic bottle sets are made to collect water at different depths to later analyze the concentration of nutrients and chlorophylls and identify the composition of microalgae and other elements. Finally, net sets are also carried out with the aim of collecting and quantifying the composition of zooplankton, including shrimp from the channels,” adds the head of the laboratory.
After the laboratory analysis process and data quality control, it is expected that in the future the information can be published in specialized oceanographic journals. In turn, work is being done on the possibility of giving access to this information through the databases managed by the IDEAL Center, where the Starm Project is located (www.starm.cl).
“All these data will finally help us to understand the variability of the Strait of Magellan marine system, also feeding the models of future climate change scenarios in this area of the planet” concludes Alarcón.