13 December 2022
In the past two days (11-12 December) we have concentrated our efforts on mapping the entire slope region and its vast pockmark field. We came across large geological features that rise to the seafloor surface, possibly made of carbonate rock carved over millennia by the Brazil Current. These features may provide hard substrate for benthic fauna amidst the extensive muddy seafloor. Unfortunately, we can only guess about what lives on them, since our tow cam is still inoperable.
Our mapping continues now over shallower areas (300 – 500 m) of the shelf break. We are also starting a CTD transect across the slope area to determine the distribution of the deep water masses of the SW Atlantic and their potential influence on benthic habitats. With that we try to make the best possible description of the physical environment, as our capacity to sample the associated biota has become limited.
On the horizon we watch the Itajaí oil platform, which reminds us of the essential services provided by the deep sea and how important is the environmental work we try to accomplish on board the RV Vital de Oliveira.