Mission 2

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Location: Buzzard Field, North Sea Central, UK
Position: 0° 58.46'W 57° 48.85 'N
Depth: 508m
Water Temperature: No data
Dates: April 2005 (Baseline Survey)
Industry Partners  
Gas & Oil Company Nexen
Academic Partner Oceanlab
Government Agency Marlab
SERPENT Representatives: Dr Emma Jones, Dr Ben Wigham, Dr Alan Jamieson and a team of support staff from FRS Marine Lab, along with students from Aberdeen and Southampton Universities
Vessel: RV Scotia

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Mission Plan

To repeat the biological baseline survey of the Buzzard platform site and adjacent control area carried out in 2004 including baited time lapse camera deployments, trawl sampling, sediment sampling for both biological and chemical analysis and a swathe bathymetry mapping exercise of the area. In addition, to trial a new baited camera lander, nick-named JULIET, built especially for the Buzzard Project.

Mission Results

A total of 15 ROBIO deployments were accomplished during this 7 day cruise. Of these, 10 were completed prior to any trawling activity (6 near the site of the platform and 4 at the control site). A further 5 deployments were made once trawling had begun including 2 dropped as close as possible to recent trawl tracks). Unfortunately, the strong Spring tides meant that many of the deployments were shorter than planned, ranging from 45min to 4 hours. Even so, a similar species composition to last year was observed with whiting, haddock, flatfish (mainly common dab) and hagfish being attracted to the bait. Higher numbers of flatfish were observed (over 50 in one deployment) and fewer haddock compared to last year along with more hermit crabs. These photos are being analysed as part of an MSc research project based at FRS Marine Lab.

JULIET is launched from the deck of Scotia.

JULIET is launched from the deck of Scotia.

Five successful deployments of the newly built FRS lander (JULIET) were accomplished during the cruise. Two short initial deployments were made, one without and one with bait, followed by three overnight baited deployments.

Sediment samples were collected at the rig and control site using a Van Veen grab and also the much larger box core. This giant mud sampling device takes a 0.25 x 0.25 x 05. m chunk of sea-floor, which can then be sub-sampled using smaller push corers. These cores are then sliced at set intervals to allow the vertical zonation of macrofauna to be examined.

Seven trawls were carried out along a transect running from the rig site to the control. In addition to the standard information on weights and numbers of species caught, biological information on the sex, maturity and stomach samples were collected from a sub-sample of whiting, haddock and common dab.

Map showing baited camera deployments.

Map showing baited camera deployments at the Buzzard site.

Whiting, flatfish and hagfish investigate the ROBIO bait.

Whiting, flatfish and hagfish investigate the ROBIO bait.

Foinaven/Shiehallion location map