Monday, July 16, 2018

Collecting deep sea water corals in Norway

The Scientific Center of Monaco is participating in July 2018 an international oceanographic expedition to Norway on board the RV POSEIDON.

Leaded by Dr. Janina Busher from GEOMAR institute, one of the goals of this mission is to collect scientific data about the deep sea coral Lophelia pertusa at four different locations of Norwegian coastal and offshore waters. 

Dr. Christine Ferrier Pagès and Dr. Stéphanie Reynaud, with the help of Magali Boussion, technician in the Coral Ecophysiology team, are working since several years on the ecophysiological aspects of deep sea corals and are happy to extend their knowledge to Norwegian one’s.

The scientific group of Monaco has several aims during this mission: the first consists in collecting corals in order to determine, back at the CSM laboratories, the lipid, protein and carbohydrate contents of the coral tissue. The other aspects are onboard experiments including coral incubations in small glass chambers to assess the carbon budget and the mucus degradation. The last goal is to perform feeding experiments with 13C and 15N labelled prey. The team is also participating to the general work on board.

Coral sampling is conducted with the submersible JAGO from GEOMAR institute, which can go to a maximum of 400 meters depth. For each dive, a small robot - linked to JAGO - collects the samples needed  in a bucket.  The entire dive is recorded by video from a camera fixed on the submersible. For water collection, a CTD (device of 12 bottles of 10L allowing to take the sea water) is deployed several times during the day on the reef from where the coral samples have been collected.

© Nico Schleinkofer
CTD deployment, Nordleksa reef, Trondheim Fjord

You can follow live the location of the research vessel and weekly updates from the mission on our blog

 

13th July 2018

The day of our arrival with two other scientists, (Tina Kutti from IMR and Nico Schleinkofer from Goethe University), cold water coral samples were collected from the reef of Nordleksa, in Trondheim Fjord. Before reaching the vessel, we were lucky to transit on this really remote island called Nordleksa, where only two farmers are living all year round.  Two daily ferries reach this island that is at two hours driving from Trondheim. The island is calm and peace place and it is possible to stay overnight on a farm. A lot of birds are living here and some otters which show up from time to time.

© M. Boussion (CSM)
View of Poseidon from the Island Nordleksa
© M. Boussion (CSM)
Departure in semi-rigid to join the POSEIDON for the mission in Norway.
© CSM
Scientists going on board: Tina Kutti from IMR, Nico Schleinkofer from Goethe University and Magali Boussion from the Centre Scientifique de Monaco.

Once onboard, Janina and the whole crew welcomed us. I started my duties by doing three water filtrations corresponding to the Jago dive n°8, with the help of Sandra Maier from NIOZ. The water was collected next to the reef at ca. 160m depth, using a CTD consisting of twelve 10L Niskin bottles. We first filtered the water on a 180µm mesh to retrieve the macrozooplankton and then re-filtered it on GF/F filters to collect the mesoplankton. The plankton will then be analyzed for its natural 13C and ∂15isotopic signature. The comparison with the isotopic signature of the coral tissue will help us to understand the type of prey on which corals are feeding.

© M. Boussion (CSM)
JAGO, from GEOMAR Institute, morning dive.
© M. Boussion (CSM)
Water filtration for zooplankton collected have begun.
© M. Boussion (CSM)
Sea water will be refiltrated on GF/Filters to collect the mesoplancton.

After water filtration, I collected mucus from three different coral colonies in order to quantify the amount of particulate and dissolved organic carbon released by the corals. The mucus will then be incubated for 48h, to assess the degradation by mucus-associated bacteria.

Yesterday, I finished the incubation of 5 coral samples for the carbon budget and I am trying to adapt 5 other coral colonies for the feeding assays in order to feed them with labelled prey. For the feeding experiment with labelled prey, it is important that the coral polyps are expanded. I put more air and darkness in their tank in order to see if they open better.

© M. Boussion (CSM)
Wet lab on the RV POSEIDON.
© M. Boussion (CSM)
Tank with corals collected from JAGO.
© M. Boussion (CSM)
Incubation experiments on collected corals.

Today, after one and a half days navigating towards Lofoten Island, we stopped at a new location sampling: Hola reef. This place in the middle of the top north Norwegian fjord is really beautiful, and totally wild. We are surrounded by high and sharp mountains and maybe a seal, a sperm whale or an Atlantic puffin will come to say hello since this is their home here! We will then repeat our experiments and collect new data here. Currently, the JAGO is diving and we are excited to see what secret it will bring back from the deep sea!

© M. Boussion (CSM)
Arrival in Lofoten Island, Janina and JAGO team
© M. Boussion (CSM)
Images taken from JAGO (GEOMAR, Kiel), -270meters, Hola Reef
© M. Boussion (CSM)
Collection of corals with JAGO arm

 


 For more information, contact www.centrescientifique.mc or:

- Ms Magali Boussion, Senior technician in the Ecophysiology team of the Marine Biology Department, Scientific Centre of Monaco (mboussion@centrescientifique.mc)

- Dr Christine Ferrier-Pagès, Research Director, in charge of the Ecophysiology team of the Marine Biology Department, Scientific Centre of Monaco (ferrier@centrescientifique.mc)

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