The Real World – at sea

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The real world?

What is life really like for a scientist at sea? May this destroy any illusions you have and create new and wonderful fantasies instead. Attentive followers of the geog blog might have discovered and even followed a link to daily reports from a research cruise (CE14009) onboard the RV Celtic Explorer some weeks ago. Now we are travelling back to that time to reveal one day of “The Real World” – at sea – from the perspective of a scientist responsible for parts of the ROV (remotely operated underwater vehicle) dives.

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Alexendra working on the RV Celtic Explorer

The Marine Institute’s scientists@sea blog is written by different scientists who are introducing their field of research and giving a short summary of the main events of the day. The one thing that is mostly left out is the ‘normal’ workday. We work in shifts to cover 24 hours/day to make the most of our time at sea. The crew and our ROV pilots have different schedules, while the scientists here work in two teams, switching every 6 hours.

Diary of a  typical day:


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My amazing deep sea coral worlds (you might have heard me mention them before) are of course the main event but there is also a myriad of wondrous creatures to discover (photos: courtesy of Marine Institute).


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Sun and a good book to relax between shifts… …and some colour for the dinner table.

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Sometimes sunset and sunrise are my only encounters with the sun in between my shifts and crazy sleeping patterns. Totally worth it, though.

Yes, it can be hard work but it is also the best work I can imagine….


Authored by Alexandra Oppelt, PhD student, Biogeochemistry Research Group/TCD Geography.

Special thanks goes to the Marine Institute for making this research adventure possible and to master and crew of the RV Celtic Explorer for their amazing support during cruise CE14009.


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