Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 72, Issue 1, pp 151–166 | Cite as

Long-term monitoring of bottom environments of the continental slope off Otsuchi Bay, northeastern Japan

  • Kazumasa OguriEmail author
  • Yasuo Furushima
  • Takashi Toyofuku
  • Takafumi Kasaya
  • Masahide Wakita
  • Shuichi Watanabe
  • Katsunori Fujikura
  • Hiroshi Kitazato
Special Section: Original Article Oceanographic observations after the 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku


Long-term monitoring of the seafloor environment off Otsuchi Bay, northeastern Japan, was carried out to investigate environmental changes of the deep-sea floor after the 2011 off the Pacific coast of the Tohoku Earthquake. We deployed two deep-sea stations, one on an upper continental slope site (around 300 m water depth) and the other on a bathyal (998 m) site, to measure current intensity and direction, water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity, and to obtain seafloor images. The monitoring period on the upper slope was 9 months (March–September 2013), and 14 months (August 2012–October 2013) at the bathyal site. The oceanographic data from the upper slope site recorded the seasonal exchange of water masses and dense marine snowfall from April to May 2013. On 7 December 2012, a large aftershock of the 2011 earthquake caused increased turbidity at the bathyal site, and seafloor photographs and videos recorded the disturbance and recovery of benthic habitats. The data from these deployments show that long-term monitoring can provide important oceanographic, biological, and sedimentological data from deep-sea sites. Together with shipboard and deep-tow observations and data collected by remotely operated vehicles, long-term monitoring can be a valuable tool for understanding deep-sea environments and their variability.


Off Otsuchi Bay The Tohoku Earthquake of 2011 Long-term monitoring Water mass Marine snow Benthic habitats Sediment 



We thank the captains and crews of the YK12-10 (Nippon Marine Enterprises; NME), Dai 18 Kaiko-Maru (Offshore Operation), NT13-21 (NME), and BO13-20 (Tokai University) cruises. We also thank the ROV Hyperdolphin team (NME) for recovering the bathyal station during cruise NT13-21. We are deeply grateful to Mr. Shuichi Fujiwara and the captains and crews of fishing trawlers of the Iwate Prefecture Fisheries Trawling Association for understanding the importance of the long-term monitoring and for keeping the upper slope station after its accidental recovery. We also acknowledge two anonymous reviewers for their constructive criticisms that improved the manuscript. This study was carried out as a part of Tohoku Ecosystem-Associated Marine Sciences funded by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan.

Supplementary material

10872_2015_330_MOESM1_ESM.mpg (6.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (MPG 6198 kb) Time lapse photographs taken at the seafloor at the upper slope site: 175 photographs taken at 1-day intervals were combined to produce the video file in mepg I format
10872_2015_330_MOESM2_ESM.mpg (8.3 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (MPG 8536 kb) Time lapse photographs taken at the seafloor at the bathyal site: 222 photographs taken at 1-day intervals were combined to produce the video file in mepg I format. Frames from 187 to 222 were extracted from videos taken at 1-week intervals, when photographs were lacking. Reddish images were caused by the malfunction of the green and blue LEDs used for illumination


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Copyright information

© The Oceanographic Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kazumasa Oguri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yasuo Furushima
    • 1
  • Takashi Toyofuku
    • 1
  • Takafumi Kasaya
    • 1
  • Masahide Wakita
    • 1
  • Shuichi Watanabe
    • 1
  • Katsunori Fujikura
    • 1
  • Hiroshi Kitazato
    • 1
  1. 1.Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)YokosukaJapan

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