Collecting coral in deep water

Monaco Exploration, the Scientific Center of Monaco and Geomar team-up to collect deep sea water corals in 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.