My name is Sneha Sunny, I am a masters student doing an MSc in Marine Environment and Resources under a European Union funded international scholarship Erasmus Mundus. It was during my third semester at University of Southampton, that I was introduced to deep-sea biota and I was fascinated by the biology and dynamics of deep-sea ecosystems. I am working on my thesis at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton in which I am studying potential morphological changes in the sea cucumber Psychropotes from the Porcupine Abyssal Plain Sustained Observatory (PAP-SO) in response to ocean climate variations. It was with the guidance of Dr Jennifer Durden and Dr Andrew Gates, that I was able to join this cruise.
This is my first time at sea, and I would say I never regretted a single moment of taking this decision. I joined as a CLASS volunteer with the benthic team, and we were in charge of sediment coring and trawl sampling. It was during sampling when I realized how hard each person works to collect and prepare each sample.
This research cruise gave me a chance of meeting many marine scientists and learning from their knowledge and experience. I also cannot forget the comfort and safety provided by the entire crew of RRS James Cook. They have made our lives easier and happier at sea. They have helped us collect our samples and the delicious meals prepared by the chefs were really stress busters especially after night shifts. Seventeen days at sea sound’s quite long but feels really short when looking back. So far, I have enjoyed my new experiences on the James Cook and I look forward to have many more.