- Deep Sea Fauna
- Environmental Variability
- Consequences of DWHOS
- Student Research
- DEEPEND Publications
When the nets come up, it’s time to sort…. Each net is processed one net time so we don’t mix up samples between one net and another. The entire process can take anywhere from four to six hours depending on how full each cod end is. We first identify the organisms and then they go to Nina and Natalie for data entry. Animals are being used for multiple studies once we are back on our labs: DNA barcoding, genetic diversity studies, stable isotope analysis, contaminant analysis and vertical distribution studies.
Here is just a sample of some unique specimens we’ve collected so far!
Photo 1: Nina and Natalie at the data entry station
Photo 2: A sample of the over 600 euphausiids (krill) that team crusty had the pleasure of counting from one net
Photo 3: A selection of bristlemouths and a hatchetfish that was going to processing for the PAH study
Photo 4: Nina with a Fangtooth fish
Photo 5: The mollusca collected on one of the tows- 4 small pelagic snails, one small Vampire squid and a Chiroteuthis mega (deep-sea squid)
One of the new projects onboard this DEEPEND trip is the use of a drone to capture images and video from a different perspective around the Point Sur. Thomas Wheeler is a full time drone operator who contracts with different science and engineering projects that require drone work. This trip, he is assisting Ryan Killackey and Dante Fenolio who are creating a documentary titled “Life in the Dark” which focuses on various organisms that create light.
Why use a drone? Drones are quickly becoming a standard tool that we use in all areas of science. It is very important to capture the true nature of organisms in their habitat and drones can do that with little interference. In addition, using a drone broadens the scanning area for a project so more area can be covered. Lastly, drone footage captures large amounts of data that will be analyzed and used by scientists. The different perspective that drones capture provide the public spectacular images and video of events not often seen by anyone other than the scientists.
Thomas loves that this job allows him to travel to different venues and allows him to contribute to science while doing something he loves. The eternal challenge for drone work of course, is to be able to collect data in a safe manner, in this case, not allow the drone to fall to the bottom of the ocean!
Facts about Thomas’s drone, the Inspire 2 (lovingly named Zephyr):
Battery airtime: 25 minutes
Range: up to 4 miles
Here are pictures that Jon Moore took from the initial deployment and retrieval on Day 1 of this trip, Enjoy!
Photo 1: Inspire 2 ready for launch
Photo 2: Thomas piloting the first mission Photo 3: Ryan collecting the drone on the return
When the MOC10 comes up to the ship, it is time for the whole science team to leap into action. To someone not familiar to the process, it may appear to be utter chaos but each person on the team has a role and things usually run like clockwork. I say “usually” because occasionally, there is a hang-up. One hang-up has been the equipment that runs the MOC last night and today. There has to be communication between the equipment on the net frame to the computer that monitors the entire process for a successful tow. We have a wonderful MOC operator, Gray, who is the master of this equipment and has been out with us for every cruise. He has been working hard to make sure our science can happen! He has spent hours trying to troubleshoot and solve the mystery problem and so far, we have been able to deploy the nets! Thank you, Gray for all of your hard work with this!
Our MOC operator, Gray, prepping the nets
We are waiting for the second trawl of the trip to come up now and we will processing our deep-sea organisms soon! Stay tuned for some animal highlights in the following posts… We collect things from microbes to large fishes and here is a couple of photos from today!
Photo 1: Jon Moore, Tracey Sutton, Tammy Frank sorting a sample Photo 2: Travis Richards catching a Blue Runner
Hi everyone, after checking to make sure all gear, crew, and science team were onboard the R/V Point Sur, we left the dock just after midnight and we have arrived at our first station! Today, the team spent time calibrating the multibeam sonar and putting the nets onto the MOCNESS frame. You will hear more soon from the acoustics team about the sonar and I will describe the MOCNESS for you now.
Well Wishes from the Restore Sargassum Team as we moved gear into the lab
MOCNESS is an acronym for a Multiple Opening and Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System, which will deploy six nets in the water from the surface down to 1500m (~4500 ft). One net at a time opens at a specified depth (1200-1500m, 1000-1200m, 600-1000m, 200-600m, 0-200m), and net 1 which stays open as the whole system goes down to 1500m. At each depth, a net is open for 45 minutes, moving through the water and collects organisms in the cod end (container at end of each net). The whole thing is brought back onto the deck where the science team then processes the collections. We spent a couple of hours today setting up the MOCNESS nets and cod ends in a light rain and we are now ready for our first deployment which is tonight!
Assembling the nets is a team effort
This trawl we are doing tonight is the 100th trawl of the DEEPEND cruises. What an accomplishment! The nets will go down at 9pm and we will be ready to sort through the samples at 3am when processing begins.
Stay tuned for how the 100th trawl goes!
Hello, everyone! The DEEPEND team is preparing and packing up gear for our next DEEPEND cruise which will be July 18th through August 2nd. We are heading out on the R/V Point Sur from Gulfport, MS and are excited to get back out on the big blue! We will have the shiptracker and real-time surface currents maps per usual on the DEEPEND homepage and we will be blogging along the way with our progress and discoveries! Hope you can virtually join us for our adventure, stay tuned!