| FSV Bigelow and TowCam summary : canyon site characterization 2012 - :14021 | Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP)
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FSV Bigelow and TowCam summary : canyon site characterization 2012
  • Published Date:
    2012
Filetype[PDF-2.63 MB]


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  • Description:
    "Submarine canyons can contain the most productive non-chemosynthetic habitats described in the deep-sea and may enhance local and regional species diversity, including those vulnerable to anthropogenic activities. Using recently collected fine-scale bathymetry data, we documented and characterized deep-sea coral ecosystems in virtually unexplored northeast and mid-Atlantic canyons. We utilized WHOI's TowCam system on the FSV Henry Bigelow to ground-truth deep-sea coral "hotspots" predicted by the existing model/maps of these areas. Using the WHOI Towed Camera System TowCam, approximately 6 Northwest Atlantic canyon areas were investigated between July 5-18, 2012 including Toms Canyon (38° 56.3823 N, 72°25.7944 W at ~1804m depth), Hendrickson Canyon (38°57.6673 N, 72°26.3203 W at ~1705m depth), Veatch Canyon (39°51.234 N, 69°33.0397 W at ~1262m depth) and canyon limbs extending west of Veatch Canyon, and Gilbert Canyon (40°17.2029 N, 67°48.5498 W, at ~707m depth). A total of 18 camera tow deployments covered 18 target areas for a total of 106 hr 47 min of bottom time producing a total of 38,629 images in order to collect contemporary deep-sea coral and sponge distribution, abundance, and habitat data. Images were taken every 10 seconds at an altitude between 2-6 meters from the seafloor with a 16-megapixel camera (TowCam SN DSC002 set at F7.1 and shutter speed at 1/60 and was flown between 2 to 5 m off the bottom). TowCam was equipped with and altimeter to provide accurate depth and altitude for each image. The images from the TowCam system were recorded internally and simultaneously transmitted to the surface through 0.68" CTD cable. Camera tow operations focus on three different regions: Toms Canyon complex (with tows in Toms, Middle Toms, and Henderickson Canyons), Veatch Canyon and Gilbert Canyon. There were 6 tows in Toms Canyon, 4 tows in Veatch Canyon, and 8 tows in Gilbert Canyon"--Page [1].

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