May 15–June 3, 2005
Please visit the Ridge 2000 website for additional information.
Sleeping onboard ship can be a cozy, comforting experience. The rhythm of the sea rocks you to sleep much like mom must have before memory. Below deck no portals to signal daylight or darkness. Only clocks tell time. Once in bed, quiet solitude. Up and out of the rack, activity seldom ceases.
The richness of Jason II's bounty is evident after today's dive at Kilo Moana. Science types everywhere peer into scopes, gaze at computer monitors, scratch a cowlick in puzzlement. Fireworms with poisonous bristles, scaleworms of strange sizes and shapes, elegant Gorgonian's, and the fragile Galatheid crab get admired, drawn or photographed, labeled and catalogued. All the while, the crew of Jason II are collecting yet another day's treasure.
A goal of several expeditions in this region is to establish the boundaries of a long-term integrated study site (ISS) in the Lau Basin. Prior expeditions funded by the National Science Foundation mapped the ridge axis, measured water temperatures and conductivity near the bottom to locate venting, conducted photomosaicing of the vent sites, and had
Jason II dive at potential targets for the study area. Our expedition is sampling the biology near these sites, but we are careful to keep out of specific areas that will be used for long-term ecological and geochemical studies. Therefore we have spent a lot of our dive time searching the bottom for good alternative sampling locations. We have been fairly successful in finding mussels and snails to sample, but so far we have not seen many tubeworms. Our goal for the next several days is to search a southern area of the ridge axis for tubeworm populations. Tonight we will survey an area with
Seabeam to create accurate bathymetric maps that can help guide us on the bottom.
This expedition has been made possible by National Science Foundation grants to Dr. Robert Vrijenhoek (NSF OCE-0241613) and Dr. Cindy Van Dover (NSF OCE-0350554)