Exploring Ancient Coral Gardens
Davidson Expedition, January 26 - February 4, 2006

February 2, 2006
Davidson Seamount Expedition Log: Day 8

NOAA/MBARI/BBC Objectives: Cut loose and pick-up current meter in “Swift Valley,” collect bamboo corals, pick-up current meter at “Tip-Top,” BBC filming at “Coral Garden” and midwater

Today was a task oriented day. Fortunately, weather, technology, luck, and all other things needed to accomplish the goals on our agenda were on our side. We completed them all in good time. We began the day with a dive to “Swift Valley” where we cut loose our moored current meter (see image left), which was later retrieved by Western Flyer crew about 30 minutes after it reached the surface.

We transected up bamboo hill, collecting Corallium and Keratoisis for Allen Andrews. At “Tip-Top” we retrieved our benthic ADCP (see image right) and began ascending to the surface. Upon surfacing we stowed the ADCP and then the BBC team and ROV pilots began prepping Tiburon for filming.

After quickly adjusting the light system for HD filming Tiburon pilots guided the ROV to “Coral Gardens” (see image left) at 1700 meters. The BBC found amazing communities of bubblegum corals, sponges, and a host of other invertebrates.

They also filmed a midwater siphonophore (see image right) that happened to be trapped on the benthos. Most likely a current deposited this unfortunate siphonophore upon the crest of the seamount where it will quickly be treated as any other food parcel in the deep sea – eaten with haste. The BBC spent the rest of the afternoon and evening filming midwater organisims including another siphonophore and several jellies. It’s been a productive day and we’re all looking forward to tomorrow's exploration at “Long Ridge.” 

-Lonny Lundsten

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