Monday, 9 July 2012

Hello again from the JNCC survey.

Sunrise on the Cefas Endeavour

Since the last blog we have been spending the majority of our time carrying out ground truthing activities to verify the multibeam and side scan sonar that we have already collected in the Greater Haig Fras rMCZ. Groundtruthing involves both taking video and photo evidence of the seabed – using cameras which are attached to the grab equipment, or attached to a sledge and towed along behind the survey vessel; and taking physical ‘grab’ samples which can be analysed in the lab to determine the different type of sediment and the organisms living within it, in different areas of the seabed.

So far we have seen some interesting species and habitats including rocky areas containing sponges, urchins, starfish, brittlestars, and anemones; and muddy habitats which support communities of burrowing species including Nephrops – some of which can be seen below.

2 Nephrops photographed in their burrows

The grabs have also pulled up from the deep some moon jellyfish species that became entangled in the equipment. These small jellyfish make daily migrations to the sea surface to feed, before sinking back down to the deep.

A moon jellyfish entangled on the grab equipment