On the journey, aboard a Chilean Navy ship, six other projects are also being developed that seek to analyze this little-studied area of the country.

Characterizing the nutrients in the water and studying how microalgae communities behave are some of the objectives of the researchers who, until March 20, will be touring the oceanic part from the Chacao Channel to Cape Horn, through the Research Cruise Marine Scientist in Remote Areas (CIMAR.)

CIMAR 29 is a program developed by the National Oceanographic Committee (CONA) of the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy (SHOA.) It is carried out aboard the oceanographic ship Cabo de Hornos.

Participating in the scientific journey are Valeska Vásquez, research assistant at the Center for Dynamic Research of High Latitude Marine Ecosystems (IDEAL) of the Austral University of Chile (UACh;) Korín Olivares, research assistant at the Patagonian Ecosystem Research Center (CIEP;) and Rosario Tagle, marine biology student at the UACh.

Valeska Vásquez states that “this is the first time that a group of multidisciplinary researchers can jointly sample the oceanic area between the Chacao Channel and Cape Horn. “This will allow us to obtain unpublished information.”

The marine biologist adds that “on this occasion we seek to characterize some oceanographic and hydrographic variables in the southern tip of Chile. We are taking samples to analyze in laboratories some parameters such as chlorophyll-a, suspended particulate matter, phytoplankton, the alkalinity of the water and the presence of different nutrients.”

This project is led by Dr. Ricardo Giesecke, researcher at the IDEAL Center and academic at the Institute of Marine and Limnological Sciences (ICML) of the UACh. Researchers Rodrigo Torres, Andrea Corredor and José Garcés also participate.

Giesecke notes that “this is a unique initiative. CIMAR cruises have historically been in the inland sea, that is, in the entire system of fjords and channels from Puerto Montt to the south and on oceanic islands. For the first time, an application was opened to do sampling in the Cape Horn currents, which have been very little studied.”

Regarding the scientific process developed by the team, the doctor in oceanography details that various analyzes are carried out on board the vessel, such as pH analysis and the characterization of microalgae pigments. He adds that “then, when they get off the boat, comes the first phase, which is to measure general parameters, for example, the amount of particulate organic and inorganic matter in the water. This is later analyzed at the IDEAL Center in Punta Arenas, as well as the concentration of total chlorophyll and various size fractions of the microalgae.”

On CIMAR 29, which set sail from Valparaíso on February 21, six other scientific research projects are also being developed. Giesecke states that “there are a huge number of sensors that collect surface water and measure continuously throughout the entire transect or sampling area.” He adds that thanks to the collaborative work between the different work teams “we are going to replicate information to compare various measurement techniques. In this way, we have much more robust information, since measurements are made with different methods. This will allow us to see how the values are adjusted depending on the methodology applied, validate data and complement information.”