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June 29, 2007

Emile Baudot and Cabrera

BY: Ricardo Aguilar



Today we visited Emile Baudot in the morning and Cabrera in the afternoon.

At Emile Baudot, we worked between 110 and 245 meters on the western slope of the seamount. It’s less rich than the eastern slope, but interesting nonetheless. At approximately 125 meters depth, we saw a couple of African armored searobins (Peristedion cataphractum) and later many scattered small concretions of red algae. Where density was greater, there were many sponges and amongst them, some fan sponges that look like Axinella infundibuliformis, and other more slender ones, some cup-shaped and others in sheets that seemed to be Phakelia ventilabrum. But if I’m not mistaken, there aren’t any references of these two species in the Mediterranean, although they are common in the Atlantic.

In the areas where the concretions were more dispersed, there were many small but branched-out gorgonians that looked like Muriceides lepida.

In deeper areas, the sea floor was covered by dead molluscs and there were some small rocks. We spotted many bluemouth rockfish here (Helicolenus dactylopterus).

In the afternoon, we continued with the transects south of Cabrera. In general, the whole area is similar. The part closest to the coast, between 60 and 80 meters depth, consists of a dispersed coralline platform full of marine life. Then the detritic fine sediment begins where we spot some sea pens (Pennatula spp., Funiculina quadrangularis), various triglids (Trigloporus lastoviza, Aspitrigla cuculus, Lepidotrigla cavillone) and then some small outcrops. Some of them harbor yellow tree corals(Dendrophyllia cornigera), and others ceriantids (Cerianthus membranaceus) while others are surrounded by large banks of poor cod (Trisopterus minutus).

At Emile Baudot, we continue to find large amounts of fishing tackle caught on the rocks, and in this area south of Cabrera there is practically none.

The only thing worth mentioning is a piece of net caught on a rock that had already been colonized by hydrozoans and a brood of squid. This area south of Cabrera, however, has more garbage on the sea floor (plastics, bottles, etc.).

At Emile Baudot, we left a tug boat hauling a cage full of tunas. Meanwhile, an airplane is flying over the area once again.

Tomorrow, we’ll head east to transect that area as well.