CSIRO Investigator is off the coast of southern Tasmania surveying deep-sea corals on an unusual cluster of volcanic seamounts, many of which are protected in Australian marine parks.
For the next week or so, we will be livestreaming the action from the ship's webcams. While most of the feed will be from the deckcam, we'll be switching to the view of the seafloor from the deep-tow camera system during survey transects.
You'll see deep-sea corals, fish and other animals 700 to 1500 metres below the surface, just as the scientists and the camera 'pilot' see them. Where possible, we will give advance warnings of the deep-tow camera stream on our Facebook page. See our daily blog about the Seamount Corals Survey from scientists, technicians and communicators onboard. You can see the voyage track and the ship's current location here.
Where are we now?
Monday 10 December
~8.30 am Hill Z16 likey good coral from top at 1100 m to at least 1200 m
Sunday 9 December
~7.30 pm unknown area
~5.15 pm Hill U in the Huon Marine Park
~1.30 pm Hill U in the Huon Marine Park: lovely coral at top ~1100m
Saturday 8 December
- ~ 2pm: Pedra seamount in the Huon Marine Park
Friday 7 December
- ~ 4.25 pm: base of Main Matt Seamount in the Tasman Fracture Marine Park at 1075-m depths
Thursday 6 December
- ~ 1.30 pm: base of Main Matt Seamount
- ~ 10.30 am: Main Matt seamount in Tasman Fracture Marine Park at 900-metre depths.
What are deep-sea corals?
Deep-sea corals occur globally in the deep ocean and are a diverse group of stony corals, soft corals, black corals and lace corals. These corals differ from tropical shallow-water corals because they lack symbiotic algae and typically exist below the sunlit zone. Like shallow-water corals, they can form reefs or mounds on the deep seafloor, which provide the complex habitat and variety of niches for a distinct and unique ecosystem.