Thursday, 11 April 2013

I'm on a boat...

After a rather hectic weekend of data processing and frantic presentation-writing in time for a meeting yesterday, it's now time to pack up my rigger boots again and head to Southampton for another two weeks at sea for what is likely to be my very last cruise as part of my PhD.

Mud and muddy animals! Yeah! 

This time, we're heading back out to the Porcupine Abyssal Plain to learn how to trawl for sample in deep-water! I've done a similar trip before, but the guys who knew all the details of how to work the gear and get it properly set up are starting to leave or retire now, so there's a bunch of us heading offshore to gather as much knowledge as we can (and hopefully catch some interesting things while we're out there too!).

An abyssal grenadier almost 5000m down

As well as a lot of mud-sampling (it just wouldn't be a trip to the abyss without it!), we'll be conducting at least two seabed trawls and hoping to collect another batch of samples to add to the long-term dataset which has been being collected at the PAP site since the early 1980s to track temporal changes in abyssal animals over the course of several decades to improve our understanding of the fragility of those systems. As always, I'll be on the lookout for fish specimens to bring back with me, and will of course keep you posted on our progress as we go. Keep your fingers crossed for us getting good weather!