|Location:||Offshore Mauritania, West Africa|
|Vessel:||M.V. Boa Deep C.|
|Depth:||900 - 1500m|
|Dates:||16 - 23 September 2004|
|Gas & Oil Company||Woodside|
|ROV Operator :||Oceaneering|
|Rig Operator :||Boa Group|
|SERPENT Representative:||Dr Daniel Jones|
The first African SERPENT mission was conducted in partnership with Woodside Petroleum Ltd onboard the M.V. Boa Deep C. This was a very exciting opportunity for SERPENT to explore the deep waters offshore Mauritania, and evaluate with an ROV for the first time the seabed animals that live there.
This map shows the position of the study site offshore Mauritania, it is in a very interesting area on the continental slope which has steep sediment banks formed from past sliding of the seabed.
SERPENT researcher Daniel Jones in conjunction with RPS-BBG carried out an extensive ROV survey in the area and found a huge range of interesting deep-sea creatures. The survey was done using the high specification Oceaneering Millenium ROVs that are built into the Boa Deep C and an additional high resolution Kongsberg digital stills camera.
The seabed in the deep waters (1500 - 900m) that were explored in this mission were home to a diverse and highly abundant array of animals. There was distinct zonation of the animals over the 600m depth range that was surveyed, with sea cucumbers such as Benthothuria funebris shown below and the swimming Enypniastes eximia common in the deeper waters while Macrourid fish were more common in the shallower waters. Some animals such as the sea urchin Phormosoma placenta were present throughout the depth range. It is very unusual to be able to undertake such a wide scale survey of these deep sea animals and because of this the SERPENT team can provide a valuable contribution to our understanding of these marine ecosystems.
The sea urchin Phormosoma placenta.
The sea cucumber Benthothuria funebris.
The swimming sea cucumber Enypniastes eximia.
A Macrourid fish.
We wish to thank Woodside Petroleum Ltd, RPG-BBG, Mike Forde, Gareth Jones, the Oceaneering ROV team and all onboard the Boa Deep C for all their help.