Skip to content

Station M Instrument Servicing Expedition 2018 – Log 4

Larval traps and settlement frames in the ROV Doc Ricketts drawer for deployment at 4,000 meters depth on the seafloor. In these frames we included bones, wood, and oyster shells that could serve as stepping-stone habitat for chemosynthetic species and hard-bottom communities.

Station M Instrument Servicing Expedition 2018 – Log 4

The cruise activities don’t end when we get back to shore. Next, comes the data analyses, interpretation, and communication through peer-reviewed research papers, social media, and press releases. The sediment traps and Sedimentation Event Sensor recorded another period during which large amounts of marine snow reached the seafloor. Interestingly, data from the Benthic Rover, time-lapse camera, and Sedimentation Event Sensor hint to significant differences between this event and previous “high-carbon” periods at Station M. With help from MBARI Research Specialist Chris Preston and collaborator Colleen Durkin (research faculty at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories), we will use these data and samples to evaluate what made this event unique, and why so much marine snow has fallen to the abyss since 2011.

On the steam back from Station M, we packed most of our gear into large plastic pallet boxes, which the crew helped us offload using a crane once we got back to the dock, and cleaned up the wet lab for the next group going out to sea. The same space we used for servicing instruments, other groups will use to photograph midwater organisms or sort geological samples. After everything was packed and cleaned, we hand-carried samples across the street to our lab space at MBARI. We look forward to moving back onto the R/V Western Flyer next October for another cruise to Station M. In the meantime, the Wave Glider will occasionally check on the Benthic Rover, which is out there working away at 4,000 meters deep while we’re here on shore.

About Station M Instrument Servicing Expedition 2018

October 17-25, 2018 – The Pelagic-Benthic Coupling Group traveled out to Station M to service autonomous instruments that have been down at 4,000 meters for the past year.