After five days of intense work, we can announce: we got it!
Riccardo Leonardi (technician at the University of Catania) and our local collaborators from Suttakkua diving did 5 dives, during which they were able to collect two amazing coralligenous build-ups we identified at 36 m of water depth. They also collected the sediments from surrounding area and small surface samples from other near-by coralligenous structures. In addition, they placed the Concretion Accretion Unit (CAU) which will help us in understanding how and when different organisms are able to encrust. The coralligenous structure are 40 and 56 cm in height. They show a high biodiversity at surface, with fleshy algae, erected bryozoans, mollusks, serpulids and for sure calcareous algae. Below this surface aspect, the structures are both very compact (and heavy) and dominated by calcareous algae, bryozoans and serpulids.
Stay tuned! We cannot wait to start the study of these amazing samples!
The study site in front of Marzamemi has been investigated by remote sensing and ground-truthed by the use of remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) to record videos.
During our explorations, we found several sites, identified on the base of the signal recognized on the acoustic data-set, hosting beautiful coralligenous outcrops. The build-ups have been recorded between 35 and 85 m of water depth.
We faced some problems with the ROV but in the end we were able to solve it and identify our target!
The Multibeam Echosounder is an acoustic device. It measures the time of acoustic waves travelling into the water column to reconstruct the topography of the seafloor. Data collected allow us to create a digital terrain model of the study site.
The multibeam system works together with a motion sensor, to correct picth, roll and heading of the device, plus a sound velocity profiler, a probe for the calibration of the speed of the acoustic waves into the water.
The assembly and the calibration are delicate and fundamental steps for the success of the field survey.
Motion sensor is .. acting up, but we never give up!