D 297: Geology & biology of the Portuguese canyons


Who's who on board the ship...

The scientific team

Phil Weaver

Phil is the Chief Scientist for this cruise, and he's also the scientific co-ordinator of HERMES, the research programme behind the cruise. Being Chief Scientist means that Phil has overall responsibility for the scientific team and the science that takes place on board the ship. Phil also led the coring cruise in the canyons last summer (CD157), and as a marine geologist is particularly interested in the sedimentary processes in the canyons.

Doug Masson

Doug is a geologist specialising in sedimentology. He led our first cruise in the study area in November 2004, where we used TOBI to create sidescan sonar images of the seafloor, and he also took part in the coring cruise to the area last summer (CD157).

Dave Billett

Dave Billett is a deep sea biologist at NOC, working on the ecology of large deep-sea invertebrates, such as sea cucumbers, starfish and sea urchins for about 29 years. Most recently David has been working on how global change at the sea surface might have an immediate and long-term effect on seabed populations 3 miles deep and on how jellyfish swarms at the sea surface can form lakes of rotting jelly detritus on the deep-sea floor. David is interested in how large-scale natural changes in deep-sea communities can be distinguished from those caused by man's direct influence, such as deep-sea fishing and the utilisation of non-living resources.

Andy Gooday

Andy Gooday is a deep sea biologist with broad interests in the biodiversity of modern small shelled protozoans (single cells) living on the seafloor, such as foraminifera. He is also interested in xenophyophores - giant protozoans that can grow to sizes in excess of 20 cm. He studies their biogeographic distributions in all oceans. He is interested in their ecology, particularly their relation to food inputs to the seafloor, as well as their use for reconstructing ancient oceans. Andy has recently spent 3 months on a cruise in the Antarctic studying the biodiversity of Southern Ocean benthos and published in Science on protozoans found in the Challenger Deep, the deepest place in the oceans.

Paul Tyler

Paul Tyler is a Professor of deep sea biology at the University of Southampton, and his interests lie in all aspects of the deep-sea environment including margins, canyons, abyssal plains, corals, seeps and vents. During the cruise, he and the other biologists on board will be involved in searching for, sampling and identifying the creatures that live in the Portuguese canyons during the cruise

Veerle Huvenne

Veerle is a postdoc researcher at NOC, working on deep-water corals and their sedimentary environment. She will be interested in any corals we find in the canyons - which sedimentary regime they live in and what sort of reef structures they build. Veerle is also interested in the overall process of downslope sediment transport and canyon formation and in the associated bedforms on the canyon floor. During the cruise, Veelre will mainly be responsible for processing the new TOBI sidescan sonar data and building and maintaining an up-to-date GIS (Geographical Information System) of the area (a digital map with all the information from the area), and to assist in the coring and sediment sampling operations.

Raquel Arzola

Raquel is currently doing a Master in Research (MRes) in Marine Geology and Geophysics, for which she is studying the general sediment processes that take place in submarine canyons. This work should put her well on the way for starting a PhD in October, looking at the frequency and cause of turbidity currents that flow down the Portugese canyons. Her supervisors for her PhD will be Phil Weaver and Doug Masson.

Abigail Pattenden

Abi is a PhD student at NOC, looking at epibenthic megafaunal communities within submarine canyons using video footage and still photography. She will be trying to find out how physical factors such as hydrodynamic regime, sedimentology and topography affect these communities. By looking at a few different canyons, she hopes to see changes in community composition which relate to the different environmental factors found in each canyon. Abi's PhD supervisor is Paul Tyler.

Teresa Madurell

Teresa is a marine biologist, recently moved to UK from Barcelona (ICM/CSIC). Teresa is interested in the functioning of deep-sea communities, particularly on trophic relationships and energy flow patterns through deep-sea ecosystems. This is her first big cruise, and she aims to gain as much experience as possible on board, as well as collecting samples for biochemical analysis (biomarkers and nitrogen and carbon isotopes) to study trophic biology and food web structure. During this cruise Teresa will be helping out with the biological sampling.

Kostas Kiriakoulakis

Kostas is a biogeochemist at the University of Liverpool. Kostas will be sampling particulate organic matter in the seafloor sediments using the multi corer and/or megacorer. From this, he will be able to look at properties such as carbon and nitrogen content, lipids, isotopes and perhaps pigments in them. This is important for understanding how much organic matter is transported into the canyon, and how the food chain works.

Alan Jamieson

Alan is an engineering postdoc from the University of Aberdeen Oceanlab. He will be leading the deployments of the new baited camera lander ROBIO 2 and the new baited low-light video lander DOSOL. These instruments are baited with smelly fish to attract scavengers, which will be recorded by digital still and video cameras which are specially designed to work in the dark conditions at the bottom of the canyons.

John Polanski

John constructed the camera controller system for the DOSOL Lander which uses an ISIT camera together with low light level CCD camera to observe and identify bioluminescent species. This is John's first ocean research cruise and he is really looking forward to. During the cruise, he will be operating and providing electronic technical support for DOSOL.

Amy Heger

Amy is originally from Luxembourg and is currently a marine biology PhD student at Oceanlab (University of Aberdeen). She specialises in deep-sea bioluminescence (production of light by living organisms). Video observations taken during the cruise will provide her with an insight into the ecology, behaviour and distribution of glowy creatures living in the submarine canyons off Portugal.

Nikki King

Nikki is in her second year of PhD studies at Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen. On the cruise, Nikki hopes to see what types of fish live in and out of the canyons on the Portuguese margin, and to see if there are any differences in the species, numbers and sizes of fish in the Nazare and Setubal canyons. Her main role will be helping out with the preparation and deployment of landers - metal cages loaded with instruments which are lowered onto the seafloor. In this case, the lander will be equipped with a special digital camera, and will be baited with smelly mackerel to attract scavenging fish.

Gian Marco Luna

Gian Marco Luna is a PostDoc Fellow at Dept. of Marine Science, Polytechnic University of Marche (Italy). He is a benthic microbial ecologist, specialising in creatures known as benthic prokaryotes which live in canyons and on slopes. His role on board RRS Discovery will be collecting sediment cores to look at how diverse and active the prokaryotes are, and what organic material is available for them to survive on. Gian Marco will also look at the genetics of some other small metazoan organisms that he might find in the cores.

Teresa Amaro

Teresa is Portuguese and has just finished her PhD Thesis at the Netherlands Institute For Sea Research (NIOZ). She is just about to start a research scholarship with Dave Billett at NOC about the ecological importance of the Portuguese “Grand Canyons” (Nazaré and Setúbal) in terms of structure and functioning of benthic communities and of key species.

Jeroen Ingels

Jeroen is a marine biologist from the University of Ghent in Belgium and belongs to the “mud people” on board Discovery. The animals he is specifically interested in are marine nematodes - microscopic worms living in marine sediments.  Even very small sediment samples usually contain huge amounts of these small creatures.  During this cruise Jeroen hopes to get good quality samples from the bottom of the submarine canyons.  After the cruise, the samples will go to the lab were he will analyse them and see how many and what kinds of nematodes reside in these canyons.  It is important that we learn what kinds of animals are living in the deep sea and how they live in order to know how we can protect them.

Xana Aranda da Silva

Xana (Ana Aranda da Silva) was born in Mozambique but is also Portuguese and has just finished her PhD Thesis at NOCS on "Benthic protozoan community attributes in relation to environmental gradients in the Arabian Sea". She is onboard this cruise already collecting samples for her postdoc, which will focus on benthic foraminiferal communities in relation to past and present environmental gradients associated with the Nazaré and Setúbal canyons (Portuguese continental margin).

Rosa Novoa

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June 2005
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