Last week, members of the Voss lab completed another successful technical diving cruise at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Joshua, Michael, Patrick, Jennifer, Danielle, and Amanda participated from the Voss Lab, and were joined by Jeff Beal of Florida FWC, Robbie Christian of RSMAS, and Jake Emmert and Rachel Susen from the Moody Gardens Aquarium.
The first few days of the cruise were spent at East and West Flower Garden Banks, completing three objectives: 1) to swap light and temperature data loggers at 70ft and 150ft, 2) to resample tagged colonies from the transplant experiment, and 3) to finish one-time sampling of shallow and mesophotic Montastraea cavernosa. The team used a combination of open circuit Trimix decompression and shallow dives to revisit the same sites originally located in October 2015. All the tagged and transplanted colonies appeared healthy and unbleached.
In addition to the planned research objectives, the technical divers also observed and subsequently sampled a unique color morph of M. cavernosa, bright yellow with blue polyp mouths. The divers were once again visited and escorted between reef sites at West Bank by the same black grouper as in October. The lab will once again return to the Flower Garden Banks in July 2016 for another logger swap and more sampling of mesophotic coral banks in the NW Gulf.
Check out our lab Flickr for the photo album and our Youtube for a short video from the cruise!