Yes, the trip through the ice is somewhat rough- the ship shakes and vibrates and shimmies back and forth as we go through the ice. It's especially rough and noisy when we're backing and ramming- we basically come to a stop, back up and then head directly at the ice at around 8 nauts or so...the ice rushes past and there's a lot of shaking and noise. It's not rough enough to make things fall off the shelves or anything like that- but it takes a little getting used to.
There are lots of things that we're searching for- every group of scientists on the ship has a different goal. Our group is interested in the sediments- what's going in and coming out, how the animals in the sediments affect what comes in and goes out (nutrients, gases). There are people on the ship studying zooplankton (microscopic animals), fish, marine mammals, the water itself, phytoplankton (microscopic plants), etc. The overall goal of this research cruise is to research how global climate change is affecting the Bering Sea ecosystem. Everyone on the ship is researching a tiny part of the ecosystem to find out how climate change is affecting it. It's like a big puzzle and everyone is working to put it together- each group is working on a piece of the puzzle that they are interested in.
Thanks for the question!