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2010 Deep Sea Coral Cruise - west coast
Mission info 2007 Nancy Foster Cruise
 

Blog June 28, 2010

Lisa Krigsman
NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Wow - what an exciting day we had! We arrived at the Santa Barbara Harbor early in the morning, meeting up with the AUV team from the Northwest Fishery and Pacific Island Science Center and the ROV team from the University of Connecticut. We transferred all our scientific and personal gear out to the waiting ship and off we went to our first location.

A colony of Lophelia pertusa in 350m of water on the Piggy Bank in southern California. The two red laser dots are 20 cm apart.
A colony of Lophelia pertusa in 350m of water on the Piggy Bank in southern California. The two red laser dots are 20 cm apart. Click here for a larger image. (Photo: NOAA)

During our transit out, we had an introduction and safety briefing and got to put on our survival suits (aka Gumby suit). It took us a couple of hours to transit out to Piggy Bank, a location between Santa Cruz and Anacapa Island (check out the "Where is the Ship" link on this page). We hit the ground running and boy what an exciting afternoon we had! We got the ROV in the water before 2pm and worked till 7pm. We did a "look see" around the top of the bank (around 300m) and made some coral collections. Piggy Bank is part Channel Island National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS), and is also a no take zone that is a Federal Marine Reserve.

Basketstar, Gorgonocephalus eucnemis, on a Christmas tree coral (white color morph)  , Antipathes dendrochristos, at the Piggy Bank in southern California.
Basketstar, Gorgonocephalus eucnemis, on a Christmas tree coral (white color morph), Antipathes dendrochristos, at the Piggy Bank in southern California. Click here for a larger image. (Photo: NOAA)
We saw Christmas tree corals, a unique coral that was found here in the early 2000's on this bank. Currently it is not known to be found anywhere else outside of southern California. We also saw basket stars and lots and lots of Lophelia, a small white branching coral with a wide distribution around the world in deep cold water. We made collections for genetics work, reproduction analysis and identification.

As we wrapped up our exciting first day at sea, the AUV team was getting ready to get back in the water. They had their AUV in the water by 10:30pm and were done by 4am. You can check out what they saw on their blog page.

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