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6. July

How to label samples

The group photo for Leg 2

Todays Highlights

Author:  Author: Lars Stemmann (Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France), Nicola King (Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen).

We left Horta this morning at around 2 am (Norwegian time) to sail to the first station which we should
reach in 24 hours.  Expectations are running high and there have been many discussions about what unusual things we may see in the trawls, and lander and ROV images.

Several groups of common dolphins were seen feeding this morning.  They were easy to spot as the sea
was like a pond - perfect whale and dolphin watching conditions.  They were accompanied in their search for food by seabirds (mostly Cory's shearwaters) also out looking for tasty titbits.  However, the most exciting bit was still to come when suddenly two large Loggerhead turtles (60 cm) were seen from the front of the ship.

Equipment is currently being readied for deployment.  Deep-sea trawler experts have discussed the best techniques to be employed to capture and prevent damage to the most interesting animals.  They have agreed to mount a plankton net on top of a large bottom trawl and an Agassiz net (for invertebrates - animals without backbones) in the mouth of the trawl.  The net has more than enough room for an extra net inside as it has a large opening of 8X18 m.

A presentation on how to label all the samples was also given.  The data management and labelling system allows for a coherent database that will be easily accessible and usable in the future. Each sample will not only be labelled with it's species name but also with a bar code, exactly as you would see in any supermarket.

Finally, the resident photographer, David Shale, famous for his work on the BBC's Blue Planet, managed to get all the scientists together for a group photo - a very difficult thing to do on a busy ship!


Weather Conditions

Weather was partly overcast and calm as we left Horta.  The wind was light on our departure and gradually increased to 12 knots by the afternoon.


Tomorrows expected highlights

We have approximately 10 hours of steaming before we reach the first sampling station.  The first highlight will be the deployment of the Robust Biodiversity (ROBIO) lander.  The lander is baited with mackerel and attracts scavenging animals into the field of view of a digital camera.  The camera will take pictures every minute, hopefully capturing images the animals feeding at the bait.  The first trawl will also be occurring tomorrow morning - it's an exciting time onboard the G.O. Sars!


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