In December 2015, a team of scientists from Exeter University, the National Oceanographic Centre (NOC) and Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), set off on a marine expedition on-board RRS Discovery as part of a programme of research studying the role of the North Atlantic Ocean in controlling greenhouse gas concentrations.

RRS Discovery (expedition DY040) ended at the end of January 2016 after a successful mission. The expedition travelled from the Eastern Seaboard of the USA, to the African continent along latitude 24°N. Samples were taken from the ocean surface to the sea floor approximately every 30 miles.

The Exeter Atmospheric and Ocean Science group, based at the University of Exeter, have an interest in observing and understanding the global carbon cycle so that we may better understand the current global CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, the carbon in our oceans and the exchange between the two. During our fieldwork we collected samples for Carbon (DIC and TA) and tracer gases (CFCs and SF6). Other parameters measured included N2O and CH4, (PML) nutrients and oxygen concentrations (NOC). This important fieldwork will allow us to understand further the importance of the physical, chemical and biological balance of the oceans.

1. The National Oceanography Centre’s physics and ocean biogeochemistry teams collected samples to measure physical properties, nutrients and oxygen concentrations. The team included: Dr. Brian King, Dr. Elaine McDonagh, Dr. Elizabeth Kent, Matthew Couldrey (PhD), Claire Winder (PhD), Dr. Lidia Carracedo, Dr Justin Buck (BODC), Dr. Sinhue Torres-Valdes, Neela Morarji (PhD), Anna Rufas, Vlad Macovei (PhD), Jeff Benson, Julie Wood, Billy Platt, Zoltan Nemeth, Richie Phipps (technicians).

2. Dr Ian Brown from Plymouth Marine Laboratory measured samples for N2O and CH4.

3. The Exeter Atmospheric and Ocean Science group measured samples for Carbon (dissolved inorganic carbon and total alkalinity) and tracer gases. Our team included Dr Ute Schuster, Dr Marie Jose Messias, Dr Steve Jones, Peter Mead, Alice Lebehot PhD, Tobias Tudino PhD, Dr Ben Mills and Jon Baker (PhD) and Ellie Morris.

International collaborators included: Daniel Valla from Argentina and Isreala Musan from Israel.. Credit is due to the ship operator: the National Oceanographic Centre and the CSO, Dr Brian King for leading the expedition.