22. Juli 2020
Our wonderful cruise is now definitely coming to an end. We are nearly on our way back home, heading for one last station where we will cast a final CTD and send an ARGO float on its journey. These floats are part of a giant international project and basically drift with the water currents, all the while consistently measuring the salinity, temperature and pressure of different water layers. While writing these lines, there are about 4000 floats deployed in the world’s oceans. Tonight,...
17. Juli 2020
The cruise is slowly coming to an end and we get a sense of home as we cross 54° N latitude. However, sniffing familiar air again doesn’t mean that there is no more work – on the contrary: we have reached the deep abyssal plains of the North Atlantic and start our measurements from 3500m down to 4500m water depth to get an idea about species distribution along a depth transect. Abyssal plains are the remote result of a spreading sea floor that is constantly being pulled sideways and...

15. Juli 2020
We leave the beautiful vent site behind us and head further south, riding on the storm and through heavy waves again. Time to take a look at what is going on in our onboard laboratories! When samples are taken – geology or fauna from the ROV dives, EBS, plankton net, MUC, and box corer – they have to be observed and documented. Depending on the sample type, there are various methods to investigate the ‘prey’: sediment is being washed and sieved, water is being filtered to remove...
12. Juli 2020
We found it! Our wish came true after about two hours of ROV diving in the dark on the legendary Reykjanes Ridge structure: The long desired hydrothermal vent field suddenly appeared in front of the cameras! Spewing out hot water up to 300°C, these little vents enable unique biodiversity in a peculiar looking environment. If I didn’t know we were about 700m under water, I’d probably think we had landed on the moon: standing on bizarrely-formed rocks and watching a chimney 1.5m high that...

11. Juli 2020
We’re in the middle of our transit to the Reykjanes Ridge region south of Iceland. This is a good time to talk about the bigger picture, why we chose Iceland as a research area and what it’s all about! Iceland sits right on the northern Mid-Atlantic ridge, where the Eurasian and the North American plates are drifting apart. It is still active, meaning that the seafloor is spreading at the mid-ocean fracture zone and new crustal material is being produced from the uprising magma. All of...
09. Juli 2020
Before beginning on the long transit to the ‘southern’ part of our voyage, we spend another two days sitting on Iceland’s continental shelf and doing ROV dives through the beautiful coral reef landscapes. Sadly, evidence of fishing pressures on these beautiful structures is visible. Corals need centuries to reach maturity, and on seafloor devastated by fishing activity they will probably never be able to grow again. Even in the bathymetry data we are able to see the footprint left behind...

07. Juli 2020
We spend this day a little further north-east on the continental shelf sampling for all we are worth! In total, we have 20 stations (deployment of four CTDs, four box corers, four multi-corers, four epi-benthos sledges, and multibeam in between!) to be finished today before tonight’s transit back to the panoramic view on Iceland – a tough schedule but the weather is unbelievably nice, with sun shining and a dead calm sea! The day started again with another (or the same?) big school of pilot...
06. Juli 2020
Yesterday morning we arrived on the continental shelf of Iceland – and a stunning panorama of glaciers, volcanoes and the rough cliffs of that beautiful island was awaiting us, immersed in bright sunlight. Not only was the view above the ocean surface great, but the ROV dive along the seafloor was once again a fascinating journey through all sorts of corals, lots of fish, fields of sponges, barnacles, and many more interesting beasties! There is a special interest in coral reefs as they are...

04. Juli 2020
We have spent three spectacular days in a row in the deep! Today and yesterday, we dived down to the beginning of Aegir Ridge fracture zone with our ROV and witnessed, once again, the most stunning impressions of life on the unknown mysterious seafloor. Nothing can describe what we look at better than images and that’s why I will stop writing soon and let the photos speak! Just one more important thing to mention at this point: Yesterday (4.7.2020) was the 300th dive for the ROV Kiel 6000....
03. Juli 2020
A day full of mapping! We have put behind us 20 hours of transit to our next survey area, located just east off the Icelandic continental shelf, at the very beginning of Aegir Ridge. That’s where we expect to find reefs of cold water corals – the ‘Lophelia’. Corals are, as any other hard substrate on the seafloor, the solid base to most marine life. They build vast reef areas and are home to the most delicate biodiversity. Although being totally different in appearance and motion,...

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