Now the first two expedition weeks have passed, I’d like to give a summary of how productive this North Sea campaign has been so far. We have now visited 2 out of 4 countries and documented 5 of our selected areas. In those areas, we have performed 22 ROV dives, 6 Scuba dives, 18 CDTs and 55 Van Veen grabs, processing a total of 165 specimen samples (some released, some fixed and kept) with both the grabs and the ROV’s arm, plus 55 (one per grab) sediment samples of 3 different granulometries. On the surface, we have spotted harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), grey seals (Halychoerus gryohus) and multiple sea birds that come along for the ride including the great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus), the gannet (Morus bassanus) and the Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica). In total from all our sampling methods to date, more than 350 species have been identified in these waters, and many more are still to come!
Today, we travelled the longest distance of the entire expedition (around 160 nm), from Grimsby to the Devil’s Hole. It is a mysterious area that hasn’t been previously studied, which features deep holes and trenches (down to 200 m) on the sea floor, all the way down at 70-80 m deep.