May 13, 2008 Successful Towcam
The Towcam has had 2 successful journeys to the seafloor today. The first Towcam was early in the morning in about 400 meters of water. It is lowered about 5 meters from the seafloor and then slowly towed forward by the ship. The camera then takes 1 photo every 10 seconds, which produces about 1,000 to 2,000 photos of the seafloor.
The photos that were captured reveled a variety of sea life in its natural habitat, which has never been observed before. The seafloor was muddy sediment with various drop stones scattered about. Many rocks were covered in marine life, like urchins, sea stars, sponges, and corals. The seafloor also had a wide variety of life on it; there were so many sea urchins and starfish. It was very exciting to know that corals were in our location, and now we just had to figure out the best way to collect them. It was then decided that the box dredge would be used to go along the same line as the Towcam to collect the corals they saw on the pictures. The box dredge brought up a couple of drop stones, but not very much fauna. Tina and Taryn were able to scrap off small pieces of corals from some of the rocks, which can be used for some dating. We then moved to a deeper area for another Towcam. This time the Towcam was put down about 1800 meters, and collected about 5 hours of photos. Again, the Towcam was very successful and collected excellent photos.
The photos revealed many shrimp, starfish, and fish. Also, corals were again seen in the Towcam photos, so an Otter trawl was quickly lowered into the water. My watch shift is currently ending as the Otter trawl is being lowered to the seafloor. I will dream of the many corals that it will collect, hopefully my dreams will come true!