Mission 1

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Location: Tornado well, Faroe-Shetland Channel
Position: 60° 33’44” N 04° 27’23” W
Depth: 1050m
Water Temperature: -0.75° C
Dates: 19 September 2 October 2009
16 - 22 October 2009
Industry Partners  
Gas & Oil Company OMV
Rig operator: Stena Drilling
ROV Operator: Oceaneering
ROV: Magnum 156
SERPENT Representative: Dr Daniel Jones

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Mission Plan

This SERPENT Project mission was carried out at the deep water Tornado well in the Faroe-Shetland Channel. As with all deep-sea environments, scientific knowledge about this area is limited. The surveys planned investigated how sediment conditions and animal communities around the drilling location changed from the baseline to a disturbed situation. In addition we were able to carry out some unique experiments and make some collections using the ROV.

The baseline sediment consists of a mix of sand, gravel and occasionally larger pebbles, cobbles and boulders characteristic of past ice rafting. Attached to the pebbles and boulders were a variety animal life. A total of 34 animal species were observed living on or associated with the seabed at Tornado, with megafaunal representatives (i.e. those animals greater than 10 mm) from at least 8 animal groups (phyla). The species complement was similar to that found from 1000 to 1200m depth in this area of the FSC. Crinoids (probably all Poliometra prolixa) were considerably more common at this site than elsewhere in the Faroe-Shetland Channel.

Eco Highlights

On this visit we obtained some extremely good photographs and linked specimens. We were successful in collecting another of the characteristic hydroids for the Faroe-Shetland Channel that remained unidentified in video. This spectacular hydroid, Corymorpha glacialis, has been identified and is the largest specimen ever obtained and extends the depth record considerably (from 220m to the current 1050m!). We also obtained specimens of the crinoid Poliometra prolixa as well as three species of sea star.

A giant hydroid

A giant hydroid Corymorpha glacialis.





Edwardsid anemone.



For further information please contact:
Dr Daniel Jones , SERPENT Project, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK.

Tornado location map Dr Daniel Jones

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