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2015 Benthic Trawl Experiment research cruise

benthic cruise team

A multi-institutional collaboration: (back row) Dr Johann Augustyn (SADSTIA); Professor Colin Attwood (UCT); Dr Kerry Sink (SANBI’s Marine Programme); Dr Charles von der Meden (SAEON); Karen Tunley, (UCT);  Hermann Engel (DAFF); and Driaan Pretorius (Viking Fishing). In front are Jean van der Merwe, (Sea Harvest) and Dr Lara Atkinson (SAEON).  (Photo courtesy of Claire Attwood)

This year’s sampling for the Benthic Trawl Experiment, completed early in February 2015, has returned with improved benthic images as well as unusual specimens for identification.  

The long-term project, investigating the recovery of benthic assemblages from demersal trawl activities, is a collaborative effort between SAEON, the University of Cape Town, the South African National Biodiversity, the South African Deep Sea Trawl Industry Association and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. 

During the cruise, 20 benthic stations were sampled using the SkiMonkey III deep-sea camera, with grab samples taken at 15 of these stations. 

The cruise also presented a hugely valuable opportunity to explore key hard-ground features on the Child’s Bank mound adjacent to the experimental area.  Using a modified version of the benthic camera which floats above rocky areas, this final part of the research cruise captured exciting new information about the existence of deep, cold-water coral communities.

 See http://www.sadstia.co.za/index.php/news for more information.

More information will be published in the forthcoming SAEON newsletter.

sea star rocky clumb

A large brisingid starfish seen briefly when landing the camera in a rocky patch.

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