Cold-Water Coral Associated Fauna in the Mediterranean Sea and Adjacent Areas

Recent Discoveries of Extensive Cold-Water Coral Assemblages in Maltese Waters Recent deep-water remotely operated vehicle surveys around the Maltese Islands resulted in the discovery of highly diverse habitats, including extensive hard bottom areas dominated by gorgonians and living cold-water corals with a rich variety of associated fauna. Black coral (Leiopathes glaberrima) forests were dominant at … Read more

Layman’s Report: Research for the conservation of reefs and sea caves in Malta

The Natura 2000 network of protected areas aims to ensure the long term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened habitats and species, on landand at sea, through sustainable ecological and economical management. This is in view that marine habitats are vulnerable to human influences, and require protection in order to safeguard the biodiversity they … Read more

New depth record of the precious red coral Corallium rubrum for the Mediterranean

Live colonies of the precious red coral Corallium rubrum have previously been recorded at depths of 600-800 m in the Sicily Channel, but deep-water populations of this species remain poorly known. During a recent research expedition within the 25 nautical mile Fisheries Management Zone around the Maltese Islands, numerous colonies growing deeper than 800 m, … Read more

Recent evidence that the deep sea around Malta is a biodiversity hotspot

Recent ROV surveys of deep-sea areas around the Maltese Islands resulted in the discovery of highly diverse habitats, including extensive rocky areas dominated by living cold water corals and gorgonians at depths of 300–1000 m, a sub-fossil lithistid sponge reef at a depth of ca. 300 m, deep-water caves located at 270–450 m, and vast … Read more

Starfish with 10 to 11 arms spotted in the Mediterranean

Marine scientists have discovered a population of a species of starfish with 10 and 11 arms living more than 200 m below the surface in waters off Malta (central Mediterranean). These starfish were spotted using an underwater robot during an at-sea survey as part the Life Ba?AR for N2K project, which aims to identify new … Read more

Extensive marine research in Malta concludes after 140 days at sea

This phase of the LIFE Ba?AR for N2K project at-sea study ends after having explored areas down to 1039 m deep. Oceana, the project partner tasked with carrying out marine surveys, has concluded its at-sea research in Malta to explore deep-sea areas, underwater caves and sandbanks within the LIFE Ba?AR for N2K project. The project, … Read more

The End

Last day of the campaign, whether we like it or not. I tried to arrange to stay another month, but they tell me that it’s impossible. They have no heart! Thirty dives, with Carlos and Enrique carrying the cameras, Juan as chief diver I, Aaron as chief diver II, and Cris, the cook who became … Read more

The finite infinite

Today we are already close to the end of the campaign. You can feel it in the atmosphere, which is a mixture of restlessness and sadness and trying to enjoy these last moments. Today involved diving in caves, with the divers excited and focused on their last dives, and us in the zodiak sailing below … Read more

Points of view

Until a few years ago, the diaries were written almost exclusively by the scientists on board. As expected, we focused on the ROV dives carried out or those by the divers, we documented species and habitats, whale sightings, birds, turtles and rubbish on the surface. Occasionally, a colleague would offer to write and would give … Read more