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Click below to go to the Cruise Logs - (photo credit: Lophelia Coral - Open-File Report 2008-1148 & OCS Study MMS 2008-015)

DISCOVRE 2009


December 1-9, 2009

Cruise Plan

Cruise 4 Multibeam Map - click to enlarge
Cruise 4 Multibeam Map - click to enlarge
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

Front Row (left to right): Genelle Harrison, Furu Mienis, Jennie McClain, Amanda Demopoulos, Steve Ross, Adela Roa-Varon, Gerard Duineveld. Back row (left to Right): Sandra Brooke, Cheryl Lewis Ames, Mike Rhode, Mattias Elliot, April Zilg, Patrick Gibson. Note: J. Murray Roberts is missing from this photograph - click to enlarge
Front Row (left to right): Genelle Harrison, Furu Mienis, Jennie McClain, Amanda Demopoulos, Steve Ross, Adela Roa-Varon, Gerard Duineveld. Back row (left to Right): Sandra Brooke, Cheryl Lewis Ames, Mike Rhode, Mattias Elliot, April Zilg, Patrick Gibson. Note: J. Murray Roberts is missing from this photograph - click to enlarge
Many, perhaps all, scientific advances are made relative to existing information, namely by making comparisons. In the case of the DISCOVRE team's deep-sea research, having the ability to collect similar data across a wide range of depths, geography, and habitats has given us an unprecedented ability to make comparisons that help us to understand continental slope ecosystems. Conducting this work in one location would not have lead to significant advances. From my long term perspective, this far reaching project - which encompasses many distinct but complementary study topics supported by the cooperation of international agencies - has been a powerful way to extract the maximum amount of science from our efforts. This year alone we sampled deep-sea coral habitats off North Carolina, off east-central Florida and through the Gulf of Mexico. These were significant additions to our previous data and will help guide our future cruises. Few other research groups have the opportunity to assemble such an impressive database. All of the scientists and technicians associated with this work have done an amazing job, and I congratulate them on their contributions. I look forward to our continued progress.

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.

Yesterday's Cruise Log




Media Inquiries: Gary Brewer, (304) 724-4507, gbrewer@usgs.gov



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