Monday 11 June 2012

The sun sets on the latest MCZ survey in the East English Channel


After 11 days at sea the most recent MCZ verification survey is coming to an end. With only a few hours left over night I'm happy to relay the survey was a success. With a full suite of samples and over 750km of multibeam collected all that is left to do is demobilise the boat and get all the samples to the lab for processing.

I'd like to add my thanks to Cefas Endeavour, crew and scientists, for a great survey and bid the blog farwell. The next MCZ survey will be departing on 1st July so keep your eyes peeled for then.

Saturday 9 June 2012

High winds on the high seas

So since last I blogged all has been well except for the bad weather that has been battering the south coast of the UK. We had thought that we had missed the most of the bad weather and that we were far enough up the Channel to not be harried by the high winds. Sadly it wasn't to be and at 23:00 on the 7th of June we had to go down on weather. Having said that the decision to down tools was an easy one due to several good rolls of approximately 30degrees spilling tools and gear off desks and forced a few of the crew to hold onto anything vaguely looking stable. Once we had turned into the weather and took the wind and waves over the bow things settled, for the most part.

Looking out of the window now the sun is out and the seas have calmed, with only a few white horses remaining on the tops of a few waves. All appears back to normal and we are once again back to working our way through the Offshore Brighton sampling locations. With the HamCam stations complete we are now on the hunt for more rocky habitats using the camera sledge before beginning a more intensive multibeam survey at some of the heterogenous locations.

With only 48ish more hours to go we still have plenty to keep us busy before we demobilise in Portland on Tuesday. Here's hoping we aren't subject to anymore weather and can power through to the end unhindered.

 Visible bedrock with overlying cobbles. Asterias rubens (common sea star) on the right

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Never fear we're here...MCZ Site Verification Survey CEND8_12C

So welcome to my first update for the third cruise of the MCZ site verification surveys. We mobilised Cefas Endeavour and left Lowestoft port on the 31st May, 2012. After a quick stop at a contaminants monitoring site we sailed round to the inshore site of Folkestone Pomerania. As multibeam had already been aquired at this site we proceeded with HamCam (a hamon grab with camera attached) and drop camera. The site is about 6km x 6km and took approximately 30hrs to complete.

Dead Mans Fingers (Alcyonium digitatum) and possible Keel worm (Pomatoceros sp.) on rocks

Upon completion of Folkestone Pomerania we proceeded to our two offshore sites, Offshore Overfalls and Offshore Brighton, to begin gathering further evidence for their designation. The sites are fairly large and our sampling strategy for Offshore Brighton can be seen below:

Broadscale habitat map overlaid with sampling locations and site boundary

We have been working steadily through the sites and are currently focused on collecting video and grab samples with opportunistic multibeam between stations. After this the data will be used to select areas for more intensive sampling and acoustics. Fingers crossed for continued good weather!

Thornback ray (Raja clavata)