Cruise inventory

RRS James Cook JC120

Cruise summary report

Cruise Info. 
Ship name (ship code)RRS James Cook (740H)
Cruise identifierJC120
Cruise period2015-04-15 — 2015-05-19
StatusCompleted
Port of departureManzanillo, Mexico
Port of returnManzanillo, Mexico
PurposeResearch
ObjectivesPart of the Managing Impacts of Deep-seA reSource exploitation (MIDAS) European Union Framework Programme 7 Project, jointly funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.

This is the first UK cruise to the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the northern equatorial Pacific, an area likely to be targeted for deep-sea mining for polymetallic nodules. This cruise will visit the north easternmost Area of Particular Environmental Importance (APEI). There are a total of nine of these APEIs situated to the north and south of the mining claim areas defined by the International Seabed Authority (ISA) across the CCZ. The APEIs have been delineated by the ISA as part of their environmental management plan for the CCZ and are designed to protect representative species and habitats for the CCZ. At present the APEIs have been designed based on surface ocean characteristics and the topography of the seafloor, estimated from satellite altimetry. At present there has been virtually no sampling of seafloor habitats or species in the APEIs. The NERC cruise aims to change that. The cruise plans to study a representative area of the APEI in great detail at high resolution and over a variety of scales. This will characterise the habitats, biology, physical and chemical conditions - adding important information about the CCZ in general and making a detailed baseline assessment for this area, which can be compared to other sites and used as a barometer of change in the deep sea associated with mining activities.

The NERC cruise will use a variety of tools for assessment of this >4000m deep area of the CCZ. The autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Autosub6000 will carry out wide-area acoustic surveys, collect seabed photographs and make physical measurements of the water column of the APEI. There will also be more detailed HD video surveys of the seafloor using the HyBIS vehicle. Sediment samples, water samples and biological samples will also be collected.

Aims

1. Obtain multi-resolution AUV bathymetry and backscatter data for resource assessment
2. Assess spatial variation in nodule abundance and size at the landscape scale
3. Explain patterns in nodule abundance using environmental data (e.g. bathymetric derivatives)
4. Mapping of seabed habitats using acoustic data
5. Characterise the megafaunal, macrofaunal, meiofaunal and microbial assemblages of the APEI (density, diversity, community structure) to compare with other areas in the CCZ
6. Assess spatial pattern in the distribution of megafaunal, macrofaunal, meiofaunal and microbial (patchiness at a range of scales)
7. Assess the environmental controls on megafaunal, macrofaunal, meiofaunal and microbial assemblages (from explanation to prediction)
8. Better understand biodiversity in the CCZ (obtain collections and photographs of as many species as possible for morphological and genetic analysis, will link to other datasets for connectivity studies)
9. Assess rare earth element concentrations in nodules and surrounding sediments
10. Assess geochemistry of sediments and overlying water in nodule area
11. Assess the role of microbes in the formation of Manganese nodules
Chief scientistDaniel Jones (National Oceanography Centre, Southampton)
Cruise reportRRS James Cook JC120 cruise report jc120.pdf — access key 'C' (9.40 MB) 
Ocean/sea areas 
GeneralNorth East Pacific Ocean (limit 180W)
SpecificClarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone
Track chartsRRS James Cook JC120 cruise track — jc120trk.pdf (00 MB) 
Measurements 
Physical oceanography 
CTD stationsQuantity: number of stations = 8
Description: CTD data and water samples that will be used for geochemical analysis and environmental DNA analysis
CTD stationsQuantity: number of stations = 12
Description: Autosub6000 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle that collected multibeam bathymetry, side-scan, sub-bottom profiles, CTD data and seabed photographs. These data will be used for mapping and community ecology.
Biology and fisheries 
ZoobenthosQuantity: number of stations = 3
Description: Short Agassiz trawls that collected polymetallic nodules for geochemical analysis and megafauna for taxonomy
ZoobenthosQuantity: number of stations = 27
Description: Megacore samples (tubes 100mm diameter) that will be used for biogeochemcial analysis, physical analysis and biological analysis and taxonomy
ZoobenthosQuantity: number of stations = 19
Description: 50x50cm Boxcore samples that will be used for biological community composition analysis and taxonomy
CrustaceansQuantity: number of stations = 2
Description: Baited lander that collected amphipods and one fish, these will be used for taxonomic analysis
Geology and geophysics 
DredgeQuantity: number of stations = 3
Description: Short Agassiz trawls that collected polymetallic nodules for geochemical analysis and megafauna for taxonomy
Core - soft bottomQuantity: number of stations = 19
Description: 50x50cm Boxcore samples that will be used for biological community composition analysis and taxonomy
Core - soft bottomQuantity: number of stations = 27
Description: Megacore samples (tubes 100mm diameter) that will be used for biogeochemcial analysis, physical analysis and biological analysis and taxonomy
Core - soft bottomQuantity: number of stations = 6
Description: 3m Gravity corer that was used for oxygen profile measurements and pore-water analysis
Bottom photographyQuantity: number of stations = 12
Description: Autosub6000 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle that collected multibeam bathymetry, side-scan, sub-bottom profiles, CTD data and seabed photographs. These data will be used for mapping and community ecology.
Bottom photographyQuantity: number of stations = 8
Description: HyBIS Towed camera platform that collected HD video and digital stills for biological analysis
Multi-beam echosoundingQuantity: number of stations = 12
Description: Autosub6000 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle that collected multibeam bathymetry, side-scan, sub-bottom profiles, CTD data and seabed photographs. These data will be used for mapping and community ecology.
Multi-beam echosoundingQuantity: number of stations = 27
Description: Shipboard EM120 multibeam and Sub-bottom profiler data that will be used for mapping
Long/short range side scan sonarQuantity: number of stations = 12
Description: Autosub6000 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle that collected multibeam bathymetry, side-scan, sub-bottom profiles, CTD data and seabed photographs. These data will be used for mapping and community ecology.