The BR10 expedition is a joint Petrobras – iAtlantic initiative to investigate the deep sea environment in the Santos Basin, offshore Brazil. The research vessel RV Vital de Oliveira (pictured right) and her team will spend a total of 17 days surveying the deep-sea terrain, habitats and ecosystems in this region, funded by the Brazilian Navy, Petrobras and the European Commission
This cruise will concentrate sampling activities within a study area in the Santos Basin that spans the shelf break and an upper slope terrace (see map below). Background data, gathered through collaboration between the Oceanographic Institute (University of São Paulo), Petrobras and UNIVALI, shows that the area contains pockmarks, reflective (hard) substrate and a large concentration of deep-sea trawl marks. Evidence suggests that the area may contain cold-water coral communities and biogeochemical processes that, in the past, sustained valuable catches of deep-sea species, including deep sea crabs, shrimps and finfish. We will also look for evidence of habitat degradation caused by these fishing activities.
Exploration in the area will include multibeam sounding and a sequence of image profiles with a tow cam system in water depths of 200-800 m depths. These activities will contribute to iAtlantic’s work on ecosystem mapping and community description. We will also conduct box core sampling at greater depths in the lower slope area to collect sediment for ex situ on board incubation experiments, as part of iAtlantic’s work on the effects of cumulative impacts and multiple stressors on deep-sea ecosystems.
The cruise will depart from Santos harbour (São Paulo state) on 5 December, returning to Rio de Janeiro on 21 December 2022. The scientific team includes 19 people, led by Angel Perez (UNIVALI) and Halesio Barros Neto (Petrobras), with a large contingent of early career scientists including 5 iAtlantic Fellows and 12 oceanography students from UNIVALI, University of São Paulo, Federal University of Espírito Santo and Federal University of Santa Catarina.