Brisingida starfish on the lander. (c) Alex Ingle, ELU Images

On the 5th of July, the CCGS Amundsen arrived in Iqaluit bay, following its very successful expedition in the Davis Strait. Graham Tulloch (BGS) and Johanne Vad (University of Edinburgh), led by the amazing Amundsen crew as well as the ArcticNet and Amundsen Science members, recovered 2 benthic landers which had been gathering data from the sea floor since summer 2018.

Johanne writes:

“We retrieved both landers which contained sediment traps, and sensors measuring temperature, salinity, pressure, oxygen, turbidity and current speed and direction. We were very excited to see these back on the ship as recovery is not always successful. The data from these devices will help us learn more about the environmental conditions in the study area. We also recovered settlement plates – these show which animals colonise the landers. Sea spiders, brisingids (starfish) and bryozoans can be seen in the photos. With a dredge, we also collected other biological samples including a massive 3kg Geodia sponge. We have frozen tissue samples for stable isotope analysis. Now, ATLAS research will be able to give a better picture of the biodiversity associated with the sponge grounds present in the area.

Bryozoans on the lander. (C) Alex Ingle, ELU Images

“We worked under the watchful eye of filmmaker and photographer Alex Ingle who recorded amazing videos and images. Alex even climbed into the Canadian Coast Guards helicopter to gather impressive aerial shots of the ship. On the way to Iqaluit, Frobisher Bay was covered in sea ice and the icebreaker capacities of the CCGS Amundsen were on display. This allowed us all to enjoy some amazing Arctic scenery and iconic wildlife: seals, walruses and even a polar bear. While the leg 1b crew travelled back to mainland Canada, the CCGS Amundsen continued its 2019 expedition to the Arctic.

"The samples will remain on the ship until the final demobilisation in Quebec City in September. Meanwhile, we are back in the lab analysing the video data collected during the 2018 and 2019 expeditions in the study area. The overall aim of this work is to combine all these different datasets (environmental, biological and video data) to give a better understanding of the functioning of the sponge grounds and predict their distribution in the Davis Strait. "

Johanne Vad, Graham Tulloch and Alex Ingle. (c) Alex Ingle, ELU Images

Johanne Vad, Graham Tulloch and Alex Ingle. (c) Alex Ingle, ELU Images