On-board Diary: Night dive

Author: Ricardo Aguilar
Date: August 5, 2006



There are deep water waves and an easterly wind is blowing, but the conditions are still acceptable for working. Tomorrow, the weather may worsen. We must take advantage of the weather today to continue filming life amongst the prairies of Cymodocea nodosa. The upper limit of the prairie is at 10 meters depth and the plant's shafts are more and more scattered. From here to the coast, it is a muddy area.

This is the area chosen by the brown comber (Serranus hepatus), the red mullet(Mullus barbatus), the striped seabream (Lithognathus mormyrus) and the sea cucumber (Holothuria tubulosa). By the way, it is mating season for the sea cucumbers and we have spotted several of them in the typical upright mating position they adopt for spawning.

The gobies also seem to like this spot, including the red-mouthed goby (Gobius cruentatus) and even the Bucchich's goby (Gobius bucchichii), never far from its symbiotic host, the Mediterranean snakelocks anemone (Anemonia sulcata).

At night, the sea floor's marine life transforms itself. The crustaceans take control. Small shrimp come out searching for food and a few camouflaged crabs make it seem as though the algae are moving. The maerl beds especially give the impression that the sea floor is moving. Some species typically inhabiting rocky areas, like the conger eel (Conger conger) also make an appearance in the prairies. We spot a few black scorpion fish (Scorpaena porcus) and even the ear-shell or ormer (Haliotis tuberculata) is active here.