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Seafloor Ecology Winter Expedition 2019 – Log 3

Able Seaman Scott Hansen and Senior Scientist Jim Barry deploy the sediment traps.

Seafloor Ecology Winter Expedition 2019 – Log 3

Wrapping up the cruise and the year:

It is the last day of the last research cruise of the R/V Western Flyer for 2019. We have had a busy and exciting four days exploring the depths of Sur Ridge and Davidson Seamount with the ROV Doc Ricketts. We have explored the Octopus Garden, measured the pumping and metabolic rates of deep-sea sponges, collected samples to better understand deep-sea food webs, and continued our work on the Deep-Sea Coral Observatory (DiSCO) project.

Our final day is a little different, no ROV today. Rather we spent our final hours on Sur Ridge re-deploying the sediment trap system we recovered on the first day and recovering the Benthic Respirometry System (BRS) and the new time-lapse camera system (nicknamed the “DiSCO photobooth”). This is big equipment! The sediment traps are connected to 500 meters of cable (that’s over 1,600 feet!) and the BRS and camera systems weigh hundreds of pounds. When recovered they have to be lifted from often rolling seas onto the Western Flyer. Working with the crew to get all this work done reminded me that all the amazing science and engineering that MBARI supports could not be accomplished without the incredible crew of the R/V Western Flyer and the other research vessels in MBARI’s fleet. From the captain to the cook, from the oilers and engineers to the mates and ROV pilots, these invaluable members of our community are the ones that make the science happen.

Happy Holidays and we look forward to reporting from our cruises in 2020!