Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mesophotic reef surveys completed!

Yellow dots indicate locations of deep reef survey sites assessed over the past month by the BREAM team.
 [Click on the map for a high-resolution version]

On Wednesday June 2nd the BREAM team completed the planned video assessment of 25 reef sites located at 90ft depth (with some transects on steep terrain spanning 80-120ft depths). Sites were surveyed with a video drop camera array (see past post), with a target of 500m of sea floor surface filmed per site. Downward facing high-definition 1080 video cameras filmed coral and other attached biota, while forward facing cameras filmed the fish community.

The research was carried out on the RV Endurance, piloted by Capt. Tim Hasselbring. The BREAM team was assisted by the volunteers Gil Nolan, Alison Copeland, Teddy Gosling and Lynn Wolf, and by intern Taylor Gorham.

The project is one of four components funded by the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme, and was supported by the Department of Conservation Services, Department of Environmental Protection, the Bermuda Zoological Society, the Atlantic Conservation Partnership and the Stempel Foundation. The information gathered will become part of the BREAM marine biodiversity and GIS databases at the BAMZ Natural History Museum and will be used to inform and guide marine resource management practices and scientific research.

We are training our Stempel-funded and ACP-funded student interns Taylor Gorham and Mollie Sinnott this week, and then progress on to the 10m (30ft) and 20m (60ft) reef surveys, which we will do on SCUBA using a modified version of the AGRRA protocol.