May 15–June 3, 2005
Please visit the Ridge 2000 website for additional information.
May 29, 2005
Today, the second day collecting at the White Lady site, has produced an abundance of mussels for Cindy Van Dover's team. The researchers are using an ingenious method to gather the mussels and their associated community of organisms. Cindy provides Jason II with up to four mussel collecting pots (see mussel pot #2 on the deck between dives) with each dive. These modified stainless steel 12 liter soup pots are inserted with a rocking motion into the mussel beds by the arm of Jason II. Once fully in place, a crank is turned that tightens a drawstring, which closes an inverted purse like Kevlar bag inside the pot. When completely closed, the pot can be lifted and the contents stay within. The pot is then returned to the white plastic painter's bucket that acts as its quiver. Once on board the Melville, the meticulous task of sorting and labeling specimens begins.
Thus far, the team from The College of William and Mary has collected numerous mussels with their associated organisms. Limpets, barnacles, snails, crabs, shrimp, lobster, polychaete worms and a host of other creatures comprise these deep-sea mussel bed communities. The samples will be taken back to the University and painstakingly identified. The final task will be to carefully compare these communities with those collected along the East Pacific Rise, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and various cold water seeps. Before Cindy packs up her collectibles, Greg and Fred will be able to photograph a few specimens.
The microscope setups used by Greg Rouse and Fred Pleijel are the envy of any biology lab. Greg has a Leica MZ8 binocular scope with a dual 150-watt fiber optic, cold light source. On top of this expensive piece of hardware is mounted a Nikon 4300 digital camera. The startling images are projected onto a
35.5 cm flat LCD screen for everyone to see.
Fred uses a Leica MZ10 binocular scope with dual fiber optic light. His EOS 20D Canon camera uses two remarkable lenses, a 100-mm macro and a special 65-mm macro, which magnifies 5 times. Both lenses are both tripod mounted. Fred can photograph organisms as small as one mm with perfect clarity. These two world-renowned scientists and their impressive optical equipment have captured most of the macro-images presented during this research expedition.
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)