Weathered out

June 14, 2013

Winds over 30 knots and swells over 10 feet were enough to sideline us for the first day of this expedition. While reading can be difficult during conditions like this, we took the opportunity to work on a paper we’re writing on the relationship between food supply and demand here at Station M, where the base of the Monterey Fan meets the abyssal plain, under about 4,000 meters (almost two and a half miles) of water. This cruise is part of a 24 year time-series study documenting changes in abyssal seafloor communities, especially in relation to how much food reaches Station M. Far beyond the reaches of sunlight, no photosynthesis occurs here. Marine snow that sinks from surface waters—through 4,000 meters of water—and settles onto the bottom forms the base of the food web there.

Camera tripod on deck, and a wave about to break over the stern of the Western Flyer.

Camera tripod on deck, and a wave about to break over the stern of the Western Flyer.

—Crissy Huffard