Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
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 R/V Western Flyer

Purpose: The goal of this leg is to sample benthic animals from deep-sea hydrothermal vents and hydrocarbon seeps in the Gulf of California. The specimens will be used for taxonomic purposes to establish depth and geographical ranges of individual species, and for population genetic studies of connectivity along the western margin of North and Central America. These data will inform scientists and managers interested in maintaining preserves and creating new protected areas in the Gulf of California and the North American margin. Our primary focus is on the bivalve and gastropod mollusks, annelids, and crustaceans associated with chemosynthetic habitats. A main target will be the hydrothermal vents discovered during MBARI's 2012 expedition along the Alarcon Rise (the northernmost segment of the East Pacific Rise, southeast of the tip of Baja). We also plan to explore and sample vents that are still to be discovered in the Pescadero Basin (east of La Paz). Success in this endeavor will depend on the bathymetric and sidescan data to be collected on prior legs of the R/V Rachel Carson, and submersible dives conducted during a previous leg with the R/V Western Flyer (D. Clague, Chief Scientist). Results will be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals within 3 years of completion of the cruise. Biological samples will be divided among American and Mexican collaborators. Dive tapes will be duplicated and distributed to the Mexican collaborators upon completion of the expedition, and all cruise related data will be stored in the internal MBARI expedition database and the samples database, which will be available to our collaborators after the cruise.

Chief scientist: Bob Vrijenhoek

Scheduled start time: 4/17/2015 2:00:00 PM UTC
[4/17/2015 7:00:00 AM Pacific]

Scheduled end time: 4/25/2015 11:00:00 PM UTC
[4/25/2015 4:00:00 PM Pacific]

Equipment: ROV Doc Ricketts, Crane, 4 Niskin Bottles, Suction Sampler, 60 Sediment cores Formaldehyde 6 gal, Ethanol 25 gal, Glutaraldehyde 1 liter, Magnesium chloride 1 kg: 50 g/l sol.