Department of Biological Sciences (BIO)

MAR-ECO at sea again!

Researchers from the MAR-ECO project at again at sea over the mid-Atlantic Ridge, first for a 40-day cruise aboard the new NOAA Research Vessel, the Henry B. Bigelow and then for six weeks aboard the newest English research vessel, the James Cook.

David Shale

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MAR-ECO researcher and cephalopod expert Mike Vecchione is the cruise leader, ably supported by another MAR-ECO researcher, fish expert Tracy Sutton.

It is the first of two extensive MAR-ECO cruises summer 2009. Both cruises have an international party of scientists and students onboard and both are focusing specifically in and around the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone where they will conduct studies of biodiversity in the transition zone between northern cool waters and southern warmer waters; an area known as the Subpolar Frontal Zone. This zone appears to act as a faunal divide and has particularly interesting ecological features that scientist would like to know more about.

The first cruise, aboard FRV Henry Bigelow from the USA, run by NOAAs National Marine Fisheries Service, is already underway and will be out for another month until 17 July. The other will be aboard the RRS James Cook from the United Kingdom and will start on 1 August.

Nature photographer David Shale will be on board both segments - the angler fish below is one of his photos from this summer! Shale has been on previous MAR-ECO cruises, the Centre for Geobiology cruises and a number of Institute of Marine Research cruises. His pictures are featured in the MAR-ECO travelling exhibition and he gave a seminar about photography of underwater creatures at the Department of Biology last autumn, 2008. See his pictures from this summer here.

Read more about the Bigelow cruise here
You may track the ship while at sea using NOAAs ship tracker:
The teacher in residence Ms Ruth Meadows will post stories here

Read the blog from the James Cook cruise here.

Read more about David Shale's photography and posters.