A day at the “Schule am Meer” on the island Krk

Roberto Joseph Pineyro, a young biology student, is joining at the moment the “Schule am Meer” from mare-mundi.eu and supports us in our building-up phase here on the island Krk! An impression of a day at the “Schule am Meer”


And we’re off! Today the whole ‘Schule am Meer’ team will take you onto our beloved ship, the Košljun. Our main tasks for the day are to absorb as much knowledge as we can while exploring the exciting Mediterranean Sea. Today we will gather some sediment and Neptune Grass (Posidonia oceanica) samples as well as search for one of our fellow cetacean friends, dolphins!

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Roberto and the team “Schule am Meer” searching Dolphins around the island of Krk

Merely 10 days ago a group of 4 bottlenose dolphins surfaced before our eyes as Alex introduced the region to a new group of students all the way from Innsbruck. Thus we were hoping to repeat the experience with our guest and dolphin specialist, Jan Gohla. Jan is likewise a passionate high school teacher who has written various scientific papers and has a particular fascination for finding answers to simple questions that are rarely asked. What does happen to chlorophyll content in the leaves of the endemic Neptune Grass the deeper they go? Moreover he has been developing his own hydrophones for 6 years now, an amazing tool designed to listen to underwater sounds such as dolphin’s calls. Along the same lines we are proud to announce the most recent donation provided by Jan himself, we now have a hydrophone on board!

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Roberto and Niko Orlic – the captain of the MB Košljun at the top of the boat

Shortly after leaving the harbor many of us begin to trace the horizon while Jan sets up the hydrophone to eavesdrop below the water line. No luck today on the dolphin department but in no time Alex eagerly begins to illustrate our beautiful surroundings and the treasures it beholds. The Kvarner Bucht houses many fascinating creatures of all shapes and sizes: the impressive sixgill sharks (Hexanchus) belong to the largest, the beautiful nudibranchs belong to the most colorful, and the smallest… well, you won’t believe us until you’ve seen them but they often belong to the most extraordinary of them all!

Speaking of small extraordinary creatures, we have currently welcomed our first guest researcher in line with her master thesis about flatworms (Platyhelminthes). She is hoping to find a specific species belonging to the Prolicetophora group, however very little is known about their habitat so we need as many samples as we can get.

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Roberto, our mare-mundi vounteer at the “Schule am Meer” on the island Krk

Despite the good company on board and the calming wind driving us across the intense deep blue, we have some tasks to fulfill! Our captain has taken us to the Seagull Island, the perfect spot to cool down and dive for sediment and neptune grass samples. Collecting these samples may sound simple but at a depth of around 15 meters, things get tricky! Luckily part of our team is still convinced they are fish and have actually gotten pretty good at getting out of the water and socializing once in a while J Once the necessary samples were gathered, a perfectly camouflaged cuttlefish quickly became the highlight for some first time snorkelers we had on board. Before we know it the Košljun crew is calling us back on board, lunch is served!

The rest of the trip was spent in deep contemplation or interesting conversations. At the end of the day it is most rewarding to take a glimpse around, see the satisfied looks on everyone’s faces and realize you are exactly where you are supposed to be!

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On our way back to the harbour, we had some time to discuss our experiences of the day

 

 
Text: Roberto Joseph Pineyro
Fotos: Astrid Hickmann
Redaktion: Astrid Hickmann