The squid Gonatus steenstrupi, collected by the suction sampler mounted on ROV Aglantha.
Depth profile at tonights dive station.
A copepod, with feather-like appendages, collected in the plankton net.
Date:23 July 2004
Author: Andrey Gebruk (P.P.Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russia), Tom Sųrnes (Univ. Bergen, Norway)
Whenever one of the ROVs (the remotely operated vehicles) prepare for diving, both scientists and crew members head for the nearest TV-screen, anticipating the appearance of strange looking deep sea creatures of all kinds. Unique to this cruise, is that we are collecting data on organisms ranging in size from millimetres (egg and plankton) to meters (whales), from surface to the sea bed. Each scientist is eager to learn more about the occurrence, distribution and behaviour of their favourite animals. But, in the spirit of collaboration, we all recognize that these various components interact, through complex bonds we are yet to understand...
Early this morning, the ROV Bathysaurus dove in for another exciting adventure. Located at one of the deepest stations, with more than 3500 meters of water between the ship and the seabed, we had a seemingly long journey ahead of us. Unfortunately, due to technical challenges, we had to turn back at 2650 meters. These interrupted dives are nonetheless valuable to those working on animals of the water column. The detailed information on who is there, how they behave, and under what environmental conditions they thrive, adds valuable pieces of information to the total picture we are continuously developing for the Mid-Atlantic Ridge ecosystem.
We are now steaming towards the northernmost cluster of stations in the Middle Box, situated on the northern flank of the Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone. In this seemingly productive area, where major oceanic currents from north and south meet, we await new discoveries.
Meanwhile, we have completed our work in the area south-east of the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and scientists on board are busy extracting first very preliminary results of comparisons between the southern group of stations, north of the Azores, and current northern group. These results show very clear differences, diversity of the fauna, both fish and invertebrates, seems to be higher in the south, whereas more rich catches and more individuals per species appear in the north. Of course, more analytical work is needed to demonstrate this phenomenon properly.