Mission 3

Images | Videos

Location: Cashel, Northeast Atlantic, Republic of Ireland
Position: 54° 42’ 23.58” N 10° 26’ 20.37” W
Depth: 174 m
Water Temperature: 10ºC
Dates: 27 June – 1 July 2008
Industry Partners  
Gas & Oil Company StatoilHydro
ROV Operator: Oceaneering
Rig operator: Diamond Offshore
SERPENT Representative: Dr. Andrew Gates

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Experimental work

Andrew Gates paid a third and final visit to the Ocean Vanguard to collect the remaining samples for his study of the effects of the physical disturbance on the starfish Porania pulvillus.

This time Andrew wanted to collect specimens from close to the well and compare their biochemistry to animals from greater distance. The analysis of the video surveys from the previous visits had shown that there were animals living on the impacted area of seabed so he was interested in whether or not the presence of the spoil has a negative effect on the starfish.

The samples were collected using modified core sampling equipment, held in the seven function manipulator arm of the ROV to scoop up the specimens, which have been returned to the lab in Southampton for analysis. This is a particularly complicated procedure given the power of the arms and the fragile nature of the starfish. With great skill and determination the Oceaneering ROV team were able to help collect the specimens Andrew needed for his work.
Finally, a series or core samples were collected to analyze the sediment in the different areas around the impacted area.

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Eco Highlights

As well as collecting the experimental organisms this visit provided an opportunity to take some fantastic photographs of the fauna living on the seafloor 170 metres below the rig. Some of the highlights are shown below. For more images and video, visit the Cashel gallery or for more details on the organisms visit the SERPENT archive database. Close this Minisite after visiting.

Octopus and Anemone

An octopus looks on from behind a colourful cerianthid anemone.

Edible crab

Edible crabs (Cancer pagurus) were often seen hiding behind rocks on the seabed at Cashel.


A Ling (Molva molva) had made the BOP its home. Here it is seen investigating the surrounding area.

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Cashel location map Dr Andrew Gates

About Andy
Research Interests
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