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On board Course - twelve days at R/V BIOS DVA in the Adriatic Sea

Photo 1. The R/V BIOS DVA and some activities carried out on board the vessel during the Eurofleets on board training course (June 2015).

Multidisciplinary oceanographic training as 12-days course for Ph.D. and M.S. students was held on board R/V BIOS DVA, June 16-27, 2015. Course was organized by the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (IOF), Split, Croatia in the central part of the Adriatic Sea. The Course was designed to enable students theoretical and practical skills by introducing various instrumentation for multidisciplinary oceanographic research (including physics, chemistry, biology, geology fisheries and aquaculture).
The Call for participation was published on 18 December 2014 on the Eurofleets2 website and on some other scientific sites, with the application submission deadline on 8 February. The candidates had to submit their applications via a web-base system including a short motivation letter, support letter and CV.
More than 110 on-line applications have been received. Based on evaluation of three oceanographic experts 12 students from EU universities, originated from 11 countries were selected: Croatia (2), Denmark (1), India (1), Ireland (1), Italy (1), Malta (1), Portugal (1), Netherland (1), Spain (1), Turkey (1) and United Kingdom (1).



The multidisciplinary oceanographic on board course of R/V BIOS DVA was organized from June 16 to 27, 2015 in the central part of the Adriatic Sea.

Throughout the Course participants were lodged at the R/V BIOS DVA. At the beginning and end of Course R/V BIOS DVA was relocated to Split passenger harbor for easier embarking and disembarking.

The first day, partly second and last day, Course was organized in the main building of the Institute, while the other days it was on board of R/V BIOS DVA.


This practical 12 days ship-based training course was designed to enable postgraduate and graduate students to acquire the theoretical and practical skills necessary to conduct off-shore multidisciplinary marine science research through the core disciplines of physical, chemical and biological oceanography, as well as in geology, fisheries and aquaculture.

Cruise paths were organized taking into consideration historical data and with aim to analyze a water mass exchange along the transect Split-Mt Gargano (for which Institute has obtained data for longer than 60 years) and the Jabuka Pit which is important for dense water formation in the northern Adriatic and its effect on termohaline properties.

Generally, Course flow on the way that after presentation on specific topic, the students were split in two groups for practical exercises, data analysis and interpretation.

During Course students were introduced and had practical exercises in measuring or water sampling with more specific instruments, as rosette with CTD probe with several additional sensors (oxygen, pH, redox, turbidity, chlorophyll a), HF radars for sea-surface currents and waves measurements, ADCPs (ship mounted, on site deployed and recovered); XBT, irradiance meter, sediments trap, dredge, nutrient salts analyzer, trawl and pelagic fish net, fish echo sounders, litter net, SS sonar, etc.).

Students were introduced to layout of the Course, so they also learned about the Institute as their host, EUROFLEETS program, planning, organization and performing of research cruise. An overview of discipline-specific sampling methodologies, equipment, instrumentation and other considerations for designing a multidisciplinary survey was given in a series of brief presentations and these were followed by practical sessions demonstrating the methods and techniques used by each discipline to collect samples and acquire data. Participants were familiarized with operation of methods, instrumentation and software under supervision of trainers.

For practical reasons (usage specific instrumentation posted in the Institute, which could not be embarked on board) lectures and data analysis of some biological topics (phyto and zooplankton, chlorophyll-a, microbiology) were performed (one and half day) in the Institute, while practical work on data sampling and preparation were done in Kaštela Bay, which is close to the Institute.

Lectures from other topics and practical exercises including sampling, processing and analyzing of data were done on board, which sailed in pre-planned study area. Due to quite bad weather conditions, original schedule of the R/V BIOS DVA cruise was slightly changed, and instead of one day visit to the deepest part of the Adriatic Sea (South Adriatic Pit) cruise was performed in neighbored channel waters (Elaphite Islands).



Photos 2. Eurofleets2 course participants in front of the Institute main building (a), on board R/V BIOS DVA close to Jabuka Island (b), visiting HF radar location at lighthouse Stončica (c); Eurofleets 2015 sign written in sand at the beach on Vis Island (d) (June, 2015).

A half day was spent on interactive discussion about problems of planning and practical organization of research cruise and importance of making reports after cruise as General report and Cruise summary report.

One day was intended for classical oceanography (termohaline properties, sea surface meteorology), with practical work on collecting, viewing and analyzing of data from rosette and CTD multiparameter probe in real time mode.

Two days were spent on studying of marine chemistry in water and sediments including standard parameters as oxygen, pH and nutrients in water column and heavy metals in sediments.

Also, another two days generally covered water dynamics in the sea, water mass exchanges, different water type formation, currents and waves measurements including water mass exchange on Palagruža Sill. Part of this topic was included deploying and after several hours recovering of ADCP profiler, and exercise in downloading, validation, processing and interpretation of data using specific software. This session was also included introduction in theoretical and practical work of HF radars for sea-surface currents and waves measurements with visiting HF radar site at Lighthouse Stončica (Vis Island).

One day was devoted to marine optics including Secchi disk, forel and radiometer (total and selected frequencies irradiance).

Two days was assigned to geology, sedimentology and benthic species communities, with special attention of geological structure of Jabuka and Palagruža Islands.

One and half day was devoted to study of various aspects of pelagic and demersal fisheries (echo sounding and fishing with bottom trawl and pelagic nets) including a standard analyzing of fish samples. As a part of this topic was presented a marine litter, which has been recently recognized as quite big ecological problem. Besides lectures there was also included on-field visual observation of litter and collecting of samples by fishing and special nets as well as the usage of methods for data analysis and interpretation.

As a part of half day studying of aquaculture it was organized a short visit to mariculture farm for production of sea bass, sea bream and tuna in vicinity of Brač Island and experimental tanks in mariculture and genetic laboratories of the IOF.

During the half day sessions were presented on-line measurements and numerical modelling maintained by the Institute, together with the Institute databases and web oriented services with special attention to importance of data and information colleting and filling cruise summary report (CSR) of research vessel and other measuring platforms.

At the middle of Course students were divided in three groups for preparation of specific seminars related to the topics studied on Course. All groups presented the results on the last day of the course and submitted their reports to the organizers.

Over the closing session students and key lecturers of Course discussed about their impressions from Course. After that students filled questionnaire and received certificates of attendance to course.