By Rachel Teasdale
The winds and seas are much calmer than a few days ago, with 10-15 knots expected for winds, and waves back down to 3-5 ft.
What’s happening today?
ROV Jason was launched yesterday and continues to collect samples in the caldera and explore 2015 lavas in the northeastern part of the caldera. Meanwhile, AUV Sentry was launched for multibeam mapping in the caldera.
|Axial Seamount 2015 Expedition video describing the experiments being conducted by the new microbial incubator on the Hot Vent Fluid Sampler. Video by Jesse Crowell in association with Saskia Madlener at 77th Parallel Productions. Music by James Andrew Menking|
|ROV Jason’s manipulator arm prepares to place a temperature probe in the low temperature hydrothermal vent, called Marker 33.|
Yesterday Dave Butterfield’s chemistry group began an incubator experiment in collaboration with microbiologists on board and at the Marine Biological Lab on shore. Typically, samples of hydrothermal vent fluids are collected from seafloor vents (see image), are stored on board Jason for the remainder of the dive, then brought to the surface for analysis of the microbes. The pressure and temperature in the hot vents are much higher than on the sea surface and it’s not clear if the change in physical conditions impacts the microbes in the fluid samples. To test this, an incubator was installed on ROV Jason to collect samples and maintain their temperature while in the sample chambers on the seafloor. To simulate experiments that are usually completed onboard, samples will be “fed” nutrients and then filtered while in the incubator on Jason. A parallel set of (non-incubated) samples will be collected and brought to the surface. The same feeding and filtering experiments will be completed on the ship with water samples that have not gone through the incubator experiment process. The resulting microbial populations preserved on the filters from both the seafloor and ship-based sets of experiments will be compared to understand the effects of cooling and decreasing pressure on the microbes.
|ROV Jason’s manipulator arm holds a hydrothermal vent fluid sampler which collects water like a large syringe from El Guapo vent.|
|Begüm Topçuoğlu and Jim Holden process water samples collected from the seafloor, which she will later analyze in labs at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.|
Jim and Begüm will use the results of the incubator experiments and those completed on the ship to “ground truth” the experiments they run on specific microbes back home in the lab.