The seabed samples were taken with a heavy device called a ‘mini’ hamon grab, which captures a small (0.1 m-sq) scoop of sediment and brings it back up to the surface. Once on deck we store a small part of this sample for sediment analysis (which will take place in a laboratory) and sieve the remainder to recover any organisms. These specimens will be analysed later to determine the type of biological community that occurs at that point on the seabed.
|A ‘mini’ hamon grab (right) on board RV Cefas Endeavour (JNCC/Cefas)|
|Plenty of shells were coming up in shelly mud samples (JNCC/Cefas)|
An unexpectedly good find in one of our grabs was an ocean quahog Arctica islandica. This mollusc is one of several special species in UK waters that the MCZ network is aiming to protect (see pg. 5661 for more information). These are long-lived animals (often living for several centuries if left undisturbed) so if they suffer population reductions they can take a very long time to recover.
|An ocean quahog Arctica islandica. This one had a quick trip up on deck and |
then was returned to its home, 80 m below (JNCC/Cefas).
|A sea cucumber, possibly the pink spotted sea cucumber Psolus phantapus (JNCC/Cefas).|
|Our camera flash exposed an otherwise extremely camouflaged angler fish |
(or monkfish) Lophius piscatorius (JNCC/Cefas).
|The ship’s mess, Scientist in Charge (left) and Master (right) took on a colourful appearance for St. Patrick’s Day. Guinness (like all alcohol) is forbidden on board though! (JNCC/Cefas)|