Friday, 18 May 2012

We left Berwickshire and North Numberland SAC and arrived at Swallow Sand rMCZ late on Wednesday night following an 8 hour transit. Like Fulmar rMCZ, it is not possible to map all of Swallow Sand in the time available due to its huge size (~ 4,000km2). Multibeam bathymetry and backscatter data are collected on transit between the survey stations. The day and night shifts are settling into a routine now collecting grabs at every station and completing camera tows at every third or fourth station. The transit between stations takes roughly 40 minutes as we map the route between sampling stations.

Fulmar rMCZ was visited on the first part of this survey. At just over 2,000km2 it’s half the size of Swallow Sand. Fulmar is being recommended as an MCZ for its subtidal coarse sediments and sands and the Ocean quahog (Artica Islandica (see pg 535 for more information). Sixty- five Hamon grab sediment samples were taken and the camera sledge was used to take video and still images at 25 of those stations. Artica Islandica was found in several grab samples (see image below).

Map of Fulmar rMCZ broadscale habitats overlaid with grab stations and multibeam bathymetry

Hagfish from station 261

Seapens at station 229

Crab at station 173
Anemones at station 251

Ocean Quahog (Artica Islandica) from Station 170

It’s important to celebrate the important events at sea and on Wednesday we did just that with balloons, banners and cake for Ruth’s 30th Birthday.