Wednesday 19 September 2018

#1218S final blog: Is it a whale? Is it a rig platform? No, it's land!

After 26 days at sea, the 1218S JNCC and Marine Scotland survey is complete! What a whirlwind four weeks we have had. Scientists on board the MRV Scotia have travelled nearly 3,000 kilometres, collected over 3,800 photographs, recorded over 113 hours of video footage of the seabed and collected and processed 47 grab samples from Faroe Shetland Sponge Belt NCMPA. In doing so we have met all our primary objectives for the survey!

'Ping-Pong' Tree Sponge (Chondrocladia) © JNCC/MSS 2018 

We have documented a huge variety of marine life and habitats across these sites, ranging from the deep-sea sponges of Rosemary Bank Seamount and Faroe Shetland Sponge Belt MPAs, to corals and iceberg ploughmark rocky habitats at Wyville Thomson Ridge SAC. As showcased in our previous blogs, the diversity of the marine life we have seen has been staggering!

Reflecting on this, JNCC monitoring lead for the survey and on-ship data guru Chris McCabe said, "the survey was incredibly exciting, seeing some of the extraordinary species in the deep sea of the Wyville-Thompson Ridge SAC from our camera tows was a fantastic experience".

Beautiful sunrise as the MRV Scotia approaches Aberdeen © JNCC/MSS 2018 

The data we have collected will form a crucial part of a dataset that will be used to monitor how these diverse habitats change over time.

In summary, I am glad to report that thanks to the hard work of our Marine Scotland Science colleagues, the crew and our own scientists, this survey has been a success. Please check back in with us for more survey blogging when we next go to sea, but for now we are excited to begin working up the data collected!

Welcome home! JNCC staff return from a successful survey with Marine Scotland Science © JNCC/MSS 2018

Keep an eye out for the results and progress of the data we have collected on our JNCC Twitter feed with #1218S!

Survey Fun Fact:
Did you know that the aptly-named ‘Ping-Pong’ Tree Sponge (Chondrocladia) is carnivorous? As a member of the Cladorhizidae family of carnivorous demosponges, it survives by catching small crustaceans and small fish with hook-like features covering the ball-like surfaces.
Read more here:

Written by Jessica Taylor
Images Copyright JNCC/MSS 2018