Light’s out, it’s a wrap

October 3, 2012

Our blue-water divers went out first thing this morning for one last sampling effort. They collected more, interesting ctenophores and siphonophores, including two pristine specimens of Nanomia bijuga for Freya Goetz.

This ethereal ctenophore, Velamen parallelum, was caught during today's blue-water dive.

This ethereal ctenophore, Velamen parallelum, was caught during today’s blue-water dive.

We found out from the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) pilots last night that more work needed to be done on the tether, so we would not be launching the ROV today. Instead we would be heading back to MBARI a little earlier than planned. We will clean our cabins and pack up the lab on our way back into Moss Landing and hope to be home in time for dinner.

Tomorrow the scientists will continue the work they started on the ship back in the lab on shore. They will conduct detailed molecular studies on our many new animal specimens to reinforce the at-sea morphological observations, and then use the data to parse together evolutionary relationships. One more small step towards a better understanding of deep-sea ecosystems!

A huge thank you to our ship’s crew, Captain George Gunther, Matt Noyes, Andrew McKee, Anthony Atthowe, Perry Shoemake, Fred Peemoeller, Olin Jordan, Jason Jordan, Dan Chamberlain, and especially to the man who keeps us all fed, Patrick Mitts. Also, hats off to our skilled ROV pilots, Knute Brekke, Mark Talkovic, Randy Prickett, Bryan Schaefer, and Ben Erwin. Truly, we couldn’t have done it without all of the above.

Olin Jordan, Andrew McKee, Jason Jordan, and Perry Shoemake keep watch on the bow as the R/V Western Flyer enters Moss Landing Harbor.

Olin Jordan, Andrew McKee, Jason Jordan, and Perry Shoemake keep watch on the bow as the R/V Western Flyer enters Moss Landing Harbor.

Looking back on a few cruise highlights:

Dazzling fluorescent display from the siphonophore Lilyopsis fluoracantha.

Dazzling fluorescent display from the siphonophore Lilyopsis fluoracantha.


David Liittschwager photographs the large bioluminescent mysid, Gnathophausia.

David Liittschwager photographs the large bioluminescent mysid, Gnathophausia.


A bioluminescent squid, Planctoteuthis, inks and swims away from the ROV.

A bioluminescent squid, Planctoteuthis, inks and swims away from the ROV.


A sea cucumber swims just up off the seafloor at 3,000 meters (9,842 feet).

A sea cucumber swims just up off the seafloor at 3,000 meters (9,842 feet).


Meghan Powers and Warren Francis deploy the tucker trawl.

Meghan Powers and Warren Francis deploy the tucker trawl.


A juvenile snipe eel and a glass squid from the tucker trawl will be taken back to Brown University for further observations.

A juvenile snipe eel and a glass squid from the tucker trawl will be taken back to Brown University for further observations.


All hands needed on deck to help unwind the damaged (and very oily) tether.

All hands needed on deck to help unwind the damaged (and very oily) tether.


Ben Erwin, Mark Talkovic, and Randy Prickett coil 300 meters (985 feet) of damaged tether on the back deck.

Ben Erwin, Mark Talkovic, and Randy Prickett coil 300 meters (985 feet) of damaged tether on the back deck.


Bryan Schaefer and Ben Erwin have their work cut out for them as they carefully re-terminate the fiber-optic tether on the rocking ship.

Bryan Schaefer and Ben Erwin have their work cut out for them as they carefully re-terminate the fiber-optic tether on the rocking ship.


The science team and their guests from National Geographic enjoy the gorgeous sunset on Monday night from the back deck of the Western Flyer. Left to right: Stefan Seibert, Freya Goetz, Meghan Powers, Lynne Christianson, Steve Haddock, Danielle Haddock, Olivia Judson, Zach Kobrinsky, David Liittschwager, and Warren Francis.

The science team and their guests from National Geographic enjoy the gorgeous sunset on Monday night from the back deck of the Western Flyer. Left to right: Stefan Seibert, Freya Goetz, Meghan Powers, Lynne Christianson, Steve Haddock, Danielle Haddock, Olivia Judson, Zach Kobrinsky, David Liittschwager, and Warren Francis.

“Using high-tech tools is one way to monitor the ocean. Another way is to have many eyes watching and gathering data. This citizen-science approach is what we are trying to use to monitor global jellyfish trends, through the website and database jellywatch.org.”—Steve Haddock

—Kyra Schlining