RRS James Cook JC125

Cruise summary report

Cruise Info. 
Ship name (ship code)RRS James Cook (740H)
Cruise identifierJC125
Cruise period2015-08-13 — 2015-09-09
Port of departureSouthampton, United Kingdom
Port of returnSouthampton, United Kingdom
ObjectivesJC124-125-126 focussed on the Whittard Canyon, south-west of Ireland and the UK.Submarine canyons are the main transport pathways between the shelf and the deep sea, and are often considered biodiversity hotspots. Their irregular topography provides different niches for a large variety in faunal communities. However, studying these communities and the underlying processes is a major challenge. Whittard Canyon has several sections with near-vertical or overhanging walls. Using the ROV Isis and AUV Autosub6000, we were be able to obtain a correct picture of these environments in true 3D.

The aims of the cruise were:
- To carry out further habitat mapping at different resolutions in Whittard Canyon, to increase understanding of the system and to test the predictive habitat models built within CODEMAP using data from 2009
- To test and apply sideways multibeam mapping, in order to develop a true 3D habitat model of the canyon
- To revisit key habitats in the canyon in order to establish potential changes over the last 6 years.
- To measure the water column structure in the Eastern Branch of Whittard Canyon, to allow the inclusion of oceanographic parameters in the predictive habitat models.

Besides the overall CODEMAP aspect, there were two additional short sections to this expedition. JC124 comprised 3 days at the start of the cruise, and 2 days later on, aimed at collecting seabed data for the UK Government (DEFRA, JNCC and CEFAS) in the rMCZ 'Haig Fras' and 'The Canyons'. Also for this work we used the AUV and ROV - the Canyons are located directly next to Whittard Canyon. The work there will be integrated with the Whittard Canyon work. JC126 covered 3 days at the end of the cruise, and was aimed at the technical trials of a novel vibrocoring system for the ROV.
Chief scientistVeerle A Huvenne (National Oceanography Centre, Southampton)
ProjectCompex Deep-sea Environments: Mapping habitat heterogeneity As Proxy for Biodiversity (CODEMAP)
Cruise reportRRS James Cook JC125 cruise report jc124_125_126.pdf (28.15 MB) 
Ocean/sea areas 
GeneralCeltic Sea
North East Atlantic Ocean (limit 40W)
SpecificHaig Fras. Whittard Canyon.
Track chartsRRS James Cook JC125 cruise track — jc125trk.pdf (1.02 MB) 
Physical oceanography 
CTD stationsQuantity: number of profiles = 20
Description: CTD casts
Current profiler (eg ADCP)Quantity: track kilometres = 4000
Description: ADCP 75kHz recording
Other physical oceanographic measurementsQuantity: activity duration in days = 21
Description: Seaglider deployment
Other physical oceanographic measurementsQuantity: number of profiles = 2
Description: SVP
Biology and fisheries 
Biochemical measurements (eg lipids, amino acids)Quantity: number of stations = 6
Description: SAPS filtrations
Geology and geophysics 
Core - soft bottomQuantity: number of cores = 2
Description: Boxcores
Core - soft bottomQuantity: number of cores = 14
Description: Piston cores
Core - soft bottomQuantity: number of cores = 8
Description: Mega cores for geology and biogeochemistry
Bottom photographyQuantity: number of dives = 27
Description: ROV dives
Geophysical measurements made at depthQuantity: number of deployments = 15
Description: Autosub6000 missions
Multi-beam echosoundingQuantity: survey square kilometres = 4000
Description: EM120 and EM710 multibeam data
Single channel seismic reflectionQuantity: track kilometres = 4000
Description: SBP120 track
Moorings, landers, buoys 
Biology and fisheries 
Eggs and larvae48° 46' 0" N  10° 28' 0" W — Larval trap for Acesta excavata
Eggs and larvae48° 38' 59" N  10° 1' 59" W — Larval trap for Acesta excavata
Data held at BODC Get data
2  Multi-beam echosounder
Reference numbers
Horizontal spatial co-ordinates
Bathymetry and Elevation
Reference numbers
Horizontal spatial co-ordinates
Bathymetry and Elevation

BODC idDate/TimeLocationDoc.
20270202015-08-14 01:23 47° 32' 25" N  11° 13' 24" W — 49° 0' 1" N  9° 10' 15" W  View metadata report for BODC series reference number 2027020
20270322015-08-15 02:05 48° 27' 43" N  9° 57' 38" W — 48° 45' 30" N  9° 33' 35" W  View metadata report for BODC series reference number 2027032