Canyons Survey Cruise 2007


The aims of the R/V Celtic Explorer cruise were to acquire high resolution multibeam, sub-bottom profiler and camera data in the SW Approaches area, located approximately 320km southwest of Land’s End. The cruise not only mapped the variable morphology of the SW Approaches area, but also investigated the biological communities within the canyon system for the assessment of potential Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) under the EC Habitats and Birds Directive (Annex I). The cruise also tested the application of the survey standards and protocols developed under the MESH project. The cruise was the first thorough test for the recently completed MESH Guidance Framework, providing a ‘proof of concept’ from planning to completion.

Over the fifteen day cruise on the Marine Institute’s “RV Celtic Explorer”, a detailed multibeam and backscatter survey focused on the canyons flanks, or interfluves, was undertaken, along with a boomer and sparker survey.  Groundtruthing was undertaken using a drop frame equipped with high resolution digital stills and video.  This research cruise will assist in identifying the extent of EC Habitats Directive Annex I reef habitat, and characterise the biological communities associated with it.  Further along the continental shelf break in the Bay of Biscay, occurrences of the cold water coral Lophelia pertusa have been recorded on canyon interfluves.  
Cruise1 Cruise2 Cruise3
For more detailed information on the cruise please read the report below.    


Three large exhibition boards and numberous photographs have been prepared for display and are available to loan on request.


Exhibition boards


Exhibition at the Plymouth Aquarium showing the results from the Canyons Cruise Survey





Data contained in this report were recorded during a collaborative survey involving the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, the Marine Institute, the British Geological Survey and the University of Plymouth. Defra Natural Environment Group Science Division (CRO 361) made a significant contribution to this work.
All material variously copyrighted by MESH project partners 2004-2010
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