Road Sampling Starts in Mar Menor, Spain

Sampling on dock in Mar Menor. From left to righ, Olga, Francisco and Aitor.

Before sampling was to resume on Sorcerer II, a 2 week multiple-site road sampling trip was planned. Chris Dupont arrived in Valencia a day after me, in the next two days we would load up a giant rental van and hit the road. On Wednesday May 5th we drove the 322 kilometers (200 miles) from Valencia to Mar Menor.

Route from Valencia to Mar Menor (To see full image of route click on picture and again when the new  window opens)
Route from Valencia to Mar Menor

Mar Menor is a salty lagoon that is separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a 22 kilometer (14 miles) sandbar with a narrow opening on the east side.

Mar Menor Lagoon
Mar Menor Lagoon

On Thursday we were joined by Dr. Francisco Rodriguez-Valera (one of our Spanish collaborators), Aitor Gonzaga and Dr. Olga Onyshchenko from Universidad Miguel Hernandez Campus San Juan. They had taken the 3 hour cruise from Alicante to Mar Menor on Dr. Francisco Rodriguez-Valera personal motor boat. Chris and I loaded our gear on the boat and motored to the site, which has been monitored for years. We collected 50 liters of water and took measurements for salinity, pH, temperature dissolved oxygen and turbidity. We also took sub-samples for Antonio Camacho from the Universitat de València. After all the samples were collected, we motored back to the marina and setup all our gear to filter the water.

The biomass in Mar Menor is so much greater than the open ocean, so all we needed was 50 liters instead of the normal 400 liters to clog all 3 of the filters. The Mar Menor sample will be great to compare to the Albufera sample (in the next blog Karolina will talk about the Albufera sampling), because they are geographically close but are very different lagoons in many ways (salinity, fresh/saltwater input, and nutrient input from surrounding land).

For more pictures from the Mar Menor sampling from Francisco click here.