school of fish in background
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2010 NRDA CRUISE #3a
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October 8-9, 2010
aboard the R/V MANTA

The purpose of this expedition was to continue data collection as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) in response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.


R/V Manta crew
Sanctuary research team
Texas A&M Galveston AAUS divers
NOAA Fisheries biologist
Kemah Aquarium biologist


Sea turtle diving down from the surface of the water.  A school of chub and some platform legs are visible in the background.
A rehabilitated hawksbill sea turtle is released as part of a collaboration between NOAA Fisheries and the sanctuary.
Photo: Eckert/FGBNMS

We installed a new anchor and subsurface buoy line at Sonnier Bank, and attached a new set of semi-permeable membrane devices (SPMDs) to the new line.  The last deployment of SPMDs and an acoustic receiver were lost when the M/V Fling pulled out the mooring at Sonnier. 

In addition, we collected water samples for an ongoing George Mason University water quality study, and sediment samples for the Deepwater Horizon NRDA effort. 

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Both sanctuary and TAMUG research divers searched for lionfish on the main peak at Sonnier but did not encounter any. 

TAMUG researchers documented the most westerly sighting of invasive lionfish, Pterois sp., at Sonnier Bank on September 12, 2010. Several more were collected on subsequent missions to remove the fish.

No significant coral bleaching was observed on the main peak. 

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Turtle Release

Two rehabilitated hawksbill sea turtles were released at an oil platform adjacent to Sonnier Bank by biologists from NOAA Fisheries and the Kemah Aquarium.

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weather report observations cool stuff get wet

Orange, branching gorgonian (soft coral) anchored in a bed of sponges and other sea life.
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