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Wetlands and Aquatic Research Center - Florida
December 1-9, 2009
In this final cruise of 2009, we will investigate deep coral ecosystems off North Carolina. This study area is a part of a very large region that was recently designated as a Coral Habitat Area of Particular Concern (CHAPC) and is a portion of the largest protected deep-sea area in continental U.S. waters. We will be deploying two benthic landers and a deep-sea mooring that contain instruments for monitoring and documenting the physical, chemical, and biological environment associated with deep-sea corals. In addition, experiments containing live Lophelia pertusa corals will be deployed to track the growth and development of this reef-building coral. Other oceanographic gear, including trawls, traps, water column profiling instruments, and box cores will be used to collect corals and associated fauna for genetics, food-web, and community studies. These collections and long-term observations will be used to characterize the biological diversity, population connectivity, and food webs of deep coral and near-by habitats and to understand the fate of deep coral ecosystems in an ever changing climate. This cruise is a multiagency, international effort that is a part of our ongoing investigations of the continental slope. Participants come from UNC-Wilmington, USGS, NOAA, Marine Conservation. Biology Institute, UNC-Chapel Hill, University of South Florida, The Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, and Heriot-Watt University. Major support for the cruise comes from the Duke-UNC Oceanographic Consortium which operates the R/V Cape Hatteras. Please select a cruise log for day to day updates.
Last Cruise Log
Cruise Log: 12/09/2009
Last Day of the Last Cruise of the Year
Steve W. Ross
We have been forced again to leave station (the third time this cruise) because of weather. We have ended the cruise early and are heading to port. Out of our nine day cruise, we have lost five days to bad weather. That is not unusual this time of year in this part of the world. While disappointing, we must remember we cannot control the weather, and despite that hindrance, we still managed to complete 70 stations. Several of our main objectives were completely successful. We were able to deploy the two benthic landers and a deep-sea mooring. These will stay down at least six months, recording data on ocean currents, temperature, particle flux, dissolved oxygen as well as supporting coral growth experiments and settling plates. The CTD transects we conducted will supplement these lander data. We conducted many successful box cores that will contribute to our understanding of coral mound geology and benthic ecology. Our trawl samples helped fill in many gaps in our project on feeding dynamics around the coral mounds. In the end, in addition to appreciating the hard work of the science crew, I thank the skill and dedication of the officers and crew of the R/V Cape Hatteras. The whole group made an impressive team.
Media Inquiries: Gary Brewer, (304) 724-4507, firstname.lastname@example.org
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