|Location:||Lagavulin, North of Shetland|
|Position:||62°39’22.8” N 001°07’33.1” W|
|Water Temperature:||-0.38° C|
|Dates:||5th – 11th November 2010|
|Gas & Oil Company||Chevron|
|Vessel Name:||Stena Carron|
The SERPENT project carried out a collaborative research mission with Chevron at Lagavulin. This is an area of active hydrocarbon exploration, being drilled by the drillship Stena Carron, North of Shetland. This mission was carried out to investigate disturbance to the seabed resulting from the drilling activities at the deep water Lagavulin site, situated in 1567m of water. SERPENT measured the effects of these activities on the benthic environment and megafaunal organisms. An industrial ROV, Oceneering Magnum 156, was used to take video transects and to determine megafaunal densities. In addition, video and photographic methods were used to observe megafauna and fish. The ROV was also used to take sediment samples by placing push cores into the seafloor and retrieving them. To assess scavenger densities, an amphipod trap was deployed on the seafloor with some tinned mackerel used as bait. A net was used to capture unidentified large sea stars and a brittle star for identification onshore. Sediment samples were frozen on board the Stena Carron and then transported back to Southampton for further work.
Ecological observations were made throught the visit, and whenever possible, high quality digital stills images and close up video footage were collected of each species. Some specimens were collected and preserved in formalin for identification back at NOC, Southampton. The best quality photographs and video are shown in the SERPENT archive database: http://archive.serpentproject.com/view/sites/lagavulin.html
A total of 17 megafaunal taxa were observed living on or associated with the seabed at Lagavulin, with megafaunal representatives (i.e. those animals greater than 10 mm) from at least 6 phyla. There were almost certainly many additional fauna that were not possible to resolve, there was evidence for polychaetes and small amphipods. A number of pelagic fauna were observed (but not possible to identify) near the seabed including ctenophores, chaetognaths and copepods. The species complement was quite similar to that we have seen at a similar depth in the Norwegian Sea
Some of the highlights are shown here:
A ray Amblyraja hyperborea
A stalked crinoids Bathycrinus carpenterii
An Eelpout Lycodes sp.
Burrowing white asteroid sp. unknown
Red shrimp Bythocaris sp.
Starfish Hymenaster pellucidus
Brittle Star Ophiopleura borealis
Tracks left by a passing starfish
The same burrowing starfish over several minutes sp. unknown
For further information please contact:
Dr Andrew Gates , SERPENT Project, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK.
or Dr Daniel Jones , SERPENT Project, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK