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

January 27, 2006
Davidson Seamount Expedition Log: Day 2

Paragorgia - the pink bubblegum coral

After getting off to a difficult and late start today we accomplished all of our goals for the day by the end of the dive. We arrived at the summit at 1200 meters water depth and deployed a current meter in order to determine the current speed and direction on the peak of Davidson Seamount. The seafloor that we surveyed today was dominated by huge bubblegum corals, white ruffled sponges, and an unusual branched sponge (see image to the left - the particular sponge is likely a new species in the genus Asbestopluma) that we previously encountered but had not sampled. We started running transects today which will allow us to use statistical methods to more accurately characterize the biological community found here. We collected one of the branched sponges, a king crab, a squat lobster, and a black coral. We also used the manipulator-held current meters to get current information in the water column surrounding the large bubblegum corals with the hopes of understanding more about their distribution as they appear to be concentrated in areas of highest current velocity (you can see this Acoustic Doppler Velicometer in the image to the right). We saw several species of fish including a little pink snailfish, grenadiers, codlings, slickheads, and a cat shark. All in all we had a successful day. The science party and ROV crew worked hard today overcoming a challenging day and achieving success.

- Lonny Lundsten

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