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Cañón de Creus Campaign - September 2009 - CSIC # Message 2

Message 2

Today has been long and intense. The sea has improved throughout the day, ending in a quiet and serene night. Last night we were able to finish the bathymetry of the platform area, which was still pending. The UTM technicians have exceeded expectations in their work, and today they get to rest. We have achieved a goal with them.

Just after breakfast at 8 in the morning we start explorations with the ROV, and at the end of the day we were able to finish 4 transects. We are doing very well. The image quality is excellent, and they have allowed us to observe the platform’s bottom communities near the canyon. We have found the crinoids’ shoals we were looking for. By midnight we are satisfied with what we had achieved today, taking advantage of the weather bonanza, and the ever excellent and efficient crew of the Garcia del Cid boat. We have also taken 6 bottom draggings and a bag of samples that will keep us busy for some weeks in the lab.

One of the most surprising aspects is the huge extension of the bottom known as communities of tanatocenosis at the canyon edge. They are thus called for being made up mainly of remains of the calcareous nature, of organisms whose exoskeletons or skeletons are dragged by the currents, and they accumulate in these communities that host a rich benthonic fauna. Globefish, ceriantharia, and many crustacean species are very common in these communities. We have also observed some little swarms of horse mackerels and other fish that constantly migrate from the platform to inside the canyon.

We still have a full night ahead of us of bottom and plankton sampling. Consequently, we have established working shifts, and thus ensure 24 hours of activity onboard.

(posted 23 September 2009)

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