Posted by graduate
Sipe, University of Delaware College of Marine Studies.
It was a long Alvin dive today, lasting close to
eight hours total. The scientists found such wonderful vent
sites that they had a hard time concluding their work and
coming to the surface. The Alvin pilot Steve
Faluotico was feeling a little stiff upon emerging from
the sphere. Muscle aches and sore backs are all in a days
work for the Alvin pilots; they sit hunched over
to peer through the view port so that they can maneuver
the sub through the convoluted vent features. They also
look at the view port when they operate the manipulator
arms to acquire precision vent samples. The pilots are truly
skilled and educated about the hydrothermal vents. They
are true assets to marine science.
The principle objective of todays dive (#3518) was
to return to the vents and collect additional sulfides,
microbes, sediment cores, and worms. Pilot Steve Faluotico
and the science observers, Martial
key samples for the research party. They thoroughly collected
Riftia tubeworms, water samples, flanges, and vent
chemistry at two prominent sites in the Guaymas Basin, K2
and Robins Roost. The electrochemistry work using
the chemical sensors is working very well. George
Nuzzio, Martial, Liz
McCliment, and Tim
Rozan are the scientists mainly involved in the electrochemistry
work and are quite happy with their results so far.
The scientists are frustrated that the sediment coring is
not going as easily as planned. Collecting good sediment
cores is a major objective of tomorrows dive. Three
coring instruments (plastic cylinders 12 inches long and
4 inches in diameter) have been taken down on each of the
dives, but tomorrow five will be used to ensure that good
samples are collected. Tim Rozan is one of the scientists
interested in the chemistry of these sediment environments.
He will be the starboard observer on the Alvin dive
tomorrow. Melissa Kendall will be the other observer in
the sub, and pilot Blee Williams will operate Alvin.
One prominent feature of the Guaymas Basin hydrothermal
vents is that the Riftia tubeworms are gigantic!
The animals collected during the dive were 4 feet long
thats a pretty big worm. Biologist Tim Shank described
them as big boys at the science meeting, but
then later discovered that they were actually female. A
number of the scientists including Tim Shank are interesting
in collecting samples of tubeworms and other vent organisms
during this cruise. There were plenty of worms to go around
We have been sailing for four days now and already people
have needed to do laundry. Moms not around to pick
up the basket of dirty clothes and return them neatly folded.
The washer and drier are two floors below the main deck,
just next to the large walk-in refrigerator and freezer
where the steward stows the perishable food. Chief Scientist
Cary has spent many days at sea during his scientific
career and actually has a specific set of cruise clothing.
He keeps these garments in a bag at his office at the University
of Delaware and pulls it out of the drawer before each cruise.
This makes packing for the cruise quite simple. And better
yet, the bell bottoms from the 70s still make
great labwear. Just kidding, Craig!