19 December 2022
The RRS Discovery has completed its extensive research expedition within two of the south Atlantic UK Overseas Territories’ waters. Thanks once again is extended to the UK Government’s Blue Belt Programme and the programme partners for supporting this work.
This survey builds on previous research collecting biological and physical data from the Island’s oceanic deep-water systems. This will provide the opportunity to contribute to existing and new initiatives that are aimed at addressing global scale issues such as climate change, ocean acidification, carbon sequestration, marine litter and the exploitation of high-seas fish stocks.
St Helena had various research priorities and objectives for this expedition. These were to:
- Map previously un-surveyed seamount habitats.
- Undertake biodiversity surveys of key offshore habitats.
- Undertake acoustic assessments of key fisheries.
- Repeat data collection at long-term environmental monitoring stations.
- Trial assessments of equipment used to prevent illegal offshore fishing.
The team from St Helena were involved with all aspects of the 24 hour science being undertaken on board. This work included:
- The deployment of oceanographic, scientific equipment – baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVs), rectangular mid-water trawl (RMT) nets, conductivity, temperature and depth (CTD) apparatus, bongo plankton nets, deep sea cameras deployed to 3000m.
- Specimen sorting and identification of deep sea species.
- Biological sampling of various species.
- Chemistry work on water samples collected from various depths.
- Water and plankton filtering and storing.
- Use of computer programmes related to the deep sea cameras – taking still photos of the live video footage
- Viewing and recording data of BRUVs footage
A key aim of this expedition was to build capacity within the local team on St Helena. The expedition provided a platform to develop skills and to promote knowledge transfer of marine science, via deployment of equipment and overall survey work. The skills and knowledge that the team have gained from this work means these skills will remain on-Island, further improving the ability to effectively manage our MPA.
For a more in depth view of what happened on board you can read the daily expedition blog from Cerys Joshua, SHG’s Marine Apprentice, online here (scroll down to the heading Research Programmes): www.sainthelena.gov.sh/portfolios/environment-natural-resources-planning/environmental-management/marine-division/.
The Environmental Management Division would like to give a sincere thanks to all parties involved in making this a successful expedition and we look forward to using the data and knowledge gained for the benefit of St Helena.
#StHelena #DY159 #smallislandBIGFUTURE
16 December 2022