Yesterday was an amazing day. We had a little touchy conditions in the morning - swift current, some waves - so we delayed launching the ROV until right after lunch. Once we got in the water, though, oh man, did we find cool stuff.
|My sea fan (or black coral?) specimen|
We started on the hard-bottom site. It was a little knoll in the middle of the mud. We started at the bottom of it and worked our way up the slope, past rocks with crustose coralline algae, encrusting sponges, and sea fans. I'm not actually sure about that last identification - I've been calling it a sea fan, but it might be a black coral. One thing is for sure: it is everywhere. The ROV doesn't have a manipulator arm to collect specimens, so I was starting to disparage my ability to identify the species. As it turns out, no manipulator arm was necessary! The ROV's thruster got some strands stuck in it, so I was able to save the specimen for identification later. I'm excited to do the full analysis back in the lab.
|One of the oil rigs near |
our study sites.
|A coral head (I think Oculina tenella) surrounded by reef fish|
on the CP Baker.
I finished the day by collecting plankton samples with a small net I had brought on board. You all know by now that I can't resist the chance to collect plankton when I'm at sea. I'm curious if the species I see living on the bottom have larvae up in the water column near the same site. It was a great day out on Sea Scout!