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30 January 2012

OOCS: The CEAB's benthopelagic observatory

Deep seafloor studies complement on-going water column studies at the observation station

ROV participants
ROV cruise participants
Chiara on board "Bon Pigall"
Ariadna, Sergi and Nuria... working on board!
ROV in Blanes canyon
ROV en campaña en Blanes
ROV on board "Bon Pigall"
ROV on board...
Remote Operate Vehicle in Blanes
ROV released into water!
Buoy's view from deck
Cover of mooring rope with apparent damage
Galateido en el fondo del observatorio del cañón de Blanes
Rope in the mooring line apparently torn.
Galateidos (crustacea) emerging out with the sunset
rape Blanes
mooring weight
Monkfish camouflaged on the seafloor at 180 m depth
Dead weight at the mooring line bottom (192 m depth)


Until December 2011, the observatory's activities aimed at strengthening both in situ observations and numerical modelling of marine conditions in the water column (including meteorological observations) at the head of Blanes submarine canyon.

From January 2012, the activities have expanded to encompass seabed studies. For this reason, the observatory has turned from being a pelagic observatory (focused on the study of the water column) to become a benthopelagic observatory (focused on both the study of the water column and seabed).

Seabed studies conducted so far have focused on two main aspects. One of the studies consisted of characterising the fauna associated to seabed by using an underwater robot (Remoted Operating Vehicle - ROV) on board the vessel "Bon Pigall" from the Argo Maris Foundation.

The robot uses a high resolution camera and an articulated arm. With the camera, the mooring line was inspected and transects along east and west seabed of the observation station were conducted, between 150 and 250 m depth.

Another research activity consisted of deploying traps with woods and bones for macroinvertebrates at 200 m depth near the death weight of the mooring line, in order to investigate for the type of organisms that can attach over time. This work is the product of a collaborative action performed with researchers from the CEAB, Daniel Martin and Chiara Romano. In the cruise participated, apart from Chiara, Nuria Raventos (BEAC), Ariadne Mecho (ICM) and Nixon Bahamon (BEAC).

In future, depending on availability of resources, an underwater camera will be attached to the mooring line capable of delivering real-time images, as already do the other sensors attached to the platform.

It's been a pleasure working with the "Bon Pigall" crew: Josep, Guillem, Neus and Sergi!

The ROV cruise was funded by the Spanish funded research project "OAMMS". The project funded the observatory activities until Dec 2011. From Jan 2012, partial funds are provided by CEAB-CSIC and partial funds are provided by the new Spanish funded "ADEPT" project, coordinated by Francesc Peters of the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC), who with we have started an interesting collaborative action.