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Midwater Ecology Expedition Summer 2019 – Log 1

The Midwater Respirometry System measures the metabolism of the animals in its chambers by measuring their oxygen consumption. Today we are monitoring Colobonema sericeum, a midwater medusa. The instrument will remain hanging on this mooring line for 24 hours before it is retrieved.

Midwater Ecology Expedition Summer 2019 – Log 1

Content Manager Nancy Barr

First order of business for the day was to collect animals to fill the chambers of the Midwater Respirometry System. The jelly Colobonema sericeum (the “silky” jelly) was particularly prevalent today, so we collected several of these small, delicate gelatinous animals and placed them in their designated containers. Once full, the MRS was piloted carefully to the mooring line and skillfully placed on a hanger at 430 meters by the pilots, before being completely decoupled from the ROV. After 24 hours we will return to retrieve the animals, and Kim Reisenbichler will be able to retrieve data on the respiration rates of the animals in the MRS at ambient and enhanced oxygen levels.

Much of the rest of the day involved explorations of the midwater, and a chance for two new members of the midwater team to see the realm of their studies and how the team works there. Scientist Bruce Robison and his team are generous in sharing their time and expertise to mentor the next generation of ocean scientists. Summer Intern Vanessa Stenvers and incoming Postdoctoral Fellow Astrid Leitner were introduced to how the Midwater Ecology Lab uses the remotely operated vehicle and various instruments to study the midwater as they each begin their own research projects at MBARI. As those young scientists go on in their careers, they mentor those coming up behind them, which is evident in the group onboard as both Vanessa and Astrid studied with academic advisors who themselves were postdoctoral fellows with Robison years ago and are now professors (Henk-Jan Hoving GEOMAR in Germany and Jeff Drazen at the University of Hawaii). Also with us on this cruise is Stanford University Ph.D. student Ben Burford, who was once an intern in the MBARI Midwater Ecology Group, and continues to collaborate on research with the team.