Survey vessel Ramon Margalef. (Photo. José Ignacio Díaz/IEO)
Research on anchovy eggs and larvae in the Bay of Biscay
Wednesday, May 09, 2012, 01:40 (GMT + 9)
This week scientists from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) left aboard the research vessel Ramón Margalef to conduct research on anchovy eggs and larvae in the Gulf of Biscay.
The boat, on which experts led by researcher Francisco Sánchez are travelling, set sail from the port of Santander towards Pasajes, where they will begin the study of the pelagic resources that may condition future populations.
The larvae and eggs are collected with very fine nets, the agency EFE reported.
It is also expected another vessel of the Directorate General of Fisheries of the Basque Country joins the expedition to be responsible for catching 'adult' specimens.
Subsequently an assessment will be carried out to draw conclusions about "the biomass that can condition the following anchovy populations," said Sánchez.
During the survey, the experts will also analyze the dynamics and the characteristics of water bodies and will carry out an identification and mapping of habitats as well as the characterization of benthic and demersal specimens and the recovery of a line of current metres and a lander.
The researcher explained that two years ago the first cold water coral reefs were discovered in Avilés Canyon, at depths ranging from 700 to 1,200 metres.
At present, it is possible to study their "high biodiversity" with the "latest technology for bottom mapping and for robotic vehicle controlling," which is available on the vessel Ramon Margalef.
During the surveys, IEO uses the Remote Observation Vehicle (ROV) Liropus 2000 and the Towed Monitoring Vehicle (VOR) Chanquete 2012 to collect simultaneous digital video images and high definition photography.
The new oceanographic survey is developed in the European project Indemares, which aims to generate excellent scientific knowledge intended to facilitate the sustainable biodiversity management of Spanish marine waters.
Sánchez said that the surveyed cold water coral reefs in the Cantabrian appear in "gigantic surfaces" or in "patches" on the walls of the canyons. And he emphasized that these reefs are "one of the main carbon sink," so that "it is necessary to conserve them to prevent them from being released into the atmosphere."
In his opinion, "it would be interesting" to investigate if this type of coral exists off Cabo de Ajo, and if so, the area would be declared a protected marine area.
Researchers from the Expert Technology Centre in Marine and Food Research (AZTI-Tecnalia) joined the expedition.
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Photo Courtesy of FIS Member IEO - Instituto Español de Oceanografía (Oficina central)