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First dive in the Arabian Sea using submersible
Six scientists from the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, on behalf of its parent organization Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) participated recently on the Japanese research vessel RV Yokosuka with its submersible 'Shinkai 6500' for studies at the continental slope off Western India, in the Arabian Sea, between 500 and 2000 m water depth during 29 September - 10 November 2008. Dr. V. Purnachandra, Rao, Ms. Catherine Sumathi, Dr. Anil Pratihary, Mr. Amit Sarkar and Ms. Shahin Badesab dived with the submersible into oxygen minimum depths of the Arabian Sea and made water column and seafloor observations. Dr. Z.A. Ansari collected sea bed samples and photos for understanding benthic life and benthic activity at the Sediment-Water Interface (SWI). This is the first scientific cruise of a collaborative program between CSIR and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), along the margins of Arabian Sea using submersible. The cruise facilitated 26 submersible observations at the oxygen Minimum Zone (OMZ). The quick results indicate oxygen content of water at the SWI to be as low as 0.02 meuM at about 500 m depth. Abundant and diverse life on the seafloor despite the low oxygen content was observed. Several sea bed sediment samples, 15-40 cm long cores have also been collected for further analysis. Both faunal and DNA analyses are planned on benthic sample collections. Besides scientists from NIO and JAMSTEC, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, USA, University of Edinburgh, University of Aberdeen, National Oceanographic Centre, Southampton, U.K, University of Tubingen, Germany were also on board for the cruise.
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