JC010: Mud volcanoes and submarine canyons


Cruise diary

Day 16: Sunday 17 June 2007
Position: 39º 29’ 796 N, 09º 55’ 993 W, Nazare Canyon
Weather: Sunny

Helen writes:

"A fairly quiet day today; we split our ROV watches so that we only had to sit in the van for a couple of hours each, as we were at the very beginning and very end of the dive. Whilst Isis was in the water she put some experiments back onto elevators and released them so that the scientists involved could collect their work and look at the results. This took several hours, and although Isis was on a relatively short dive, she was in the water for over 12 hours.

Elsewhere on board, the scientists are getting particularly busy in preparation for the visit by the BBC and Portuguese media tomorrow. We had a meeting at 6.30pm today, outlining the plans for the next few days – only 3 working days left, and it looks as though they are going to be packed! This is the time where people need to make sure that they have any essential work completed before we leave the ship in Lisbon.

It looks like my experiment to look at the absorption of coloured light should go down on the ROV tomorrow, along with a stack of polystyrene cups that we’ve drawn on. I look forward to discussing the results with you tomorrow!

p.s. here are some pictures of me piloting Isis a few days ago!

Isis on the deck prior to launch

A moment of madness in the ROV control van

Helen in the pilot's chair

Bob checking the ROV's progress as Helen
makes changes to her course.

Virginia writes:

"Today I will not to show you scientists or crew working. Kostas kindly agreed to show some of the stunning pictures of microplankton found in the filters containg particulate material of the Atlantic water column. He wanted to give you an ideia of the great diversity of this group. The photographs below were taken on an extremely powerful microscope at very high magnification. You can see the scale bar on the photographs to bgive you some idea of the size of these creatures.


A naselarian radilolaria: Botryostrobus?

Dinoflagellate: Oxytoxum sp. (tentatively)

Dinoflagellate: Ceratium sp.

Pennate diatom Nitzschia sp. (tentatively)

Centric diatom

A planktonic foraminifera

A coccolithophore: Calcidiscus sp.

Coccolithophore: Discosphaera sp.

Coccolithophores: Gephyrocapsa sp. (left) and Emiliana huxleyi (right)

Tintinid with agglutinated coccoliths


We have here only a small number of microplanktonic species. Some of these species are autotrophic (like plants, synthesise organic substances) for example the coccolithophores and diatoms whereas the Tintinid species, foraminifera and radiolarians are heterotrophics (like animals, consume organic substances), and the dinoflagellates can belong to both groups. These microscopic creaures constitut the lower levels of marine ecossystem.

You can found more information about Kostas' research in his inteview.


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