Ocean Scientific International Ltd (OSIL) have reported that their Multiple Corer has recently been employed on the Antarctic Expedition NBP 23-03 which, unusually, had been focussed on biodiversity studies in the East Antarctic.
The East Antarctic is a significantly under-studied region (no visits from US vessels in 22 years & very limited contact from other countries), so the results of these studies will be crucial to increasing our understanding of the area. The cruise, which ran from on board the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer, focussed on Antarctic Marine Nematodes with the aim of evaluating their biodiversity, evolution & ecology using molecular data retrieved from Multiple Corer samples for a baseline dataset for historical taxonomic studies.
The Multiple Corer, which was procured by the US Antarctic Program, is essential in the collection of the molecular data as it provides a pristine sediment sample that can be easily sectioned to study the microbial component of the sample.
The penetration speed is controlled by a hydrostatically damped piston & central weight system which enables up to 12 core tubes to be slowly driven into the seabed at a consistent rate. The core tubes are automatically sealed top and bottom immediately on commencement of the recovery process (using a hydrostatic seal at the top, and a mechanical seal at the bottom), capturing a immaculate sediment sample together with the overlying supernatant water, and allowing the corer and samples to be rapidly recovered to the vessel without compromising the integrity of the sample. The transparent cast acrylic core tubes are removed individually and can be subsampled immediately or treated/preserved for later study.
OSIL have an abundance of global experience in the construction and operation of a wide range of sediment coring equipment, including the industry standard Multi Corer and the unique Giant Piston Corer which is capable of achieving cores up to 60m in length. OSIL also offer a full design, build and implementation service for all of their heavy offshore equipment.
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Photo Credit: Virginia Schutte & Holly Bik