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December 3-4, 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


During this trip, the sanctuary research team changed out semi-permeable membrane devices (SPMDs) at Sonnier Bank. They also retrieved the temporary mooring (an anchor) and deployed a more permanent mooring anchor (cement block) for the SPMD buoy line. 

Divers attaching canisters to a submerged buoy line. Inset shows a close-up of one canister.
SPMDs are attached to a submerged buoy line at each of the sanctuary banks and Sonnier Bank. These are changed out at regular intervals. Photo: Nuttall/FGBNMS


Water temperature at Sonnier Bank was 73F (23C) and visibility was down to 25 ft (8 m).  Seas were 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m), winds 15-18 knots (17-21 mph). 

After tasks were completed at Sonnier Bank, we headed to East Flower Garden Bank where conditions were clearer. Visibility was 100 ft (30 m) and seas had dropped to 2-3 ft (.6-1 m), but the team headed back to Galveston ahead of a weather system.

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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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