High-magnitude carbon flux events can represent a significant fraction of deep-sea carbon sequestration. However, perhaps because they are short-lived and unpredictable, these “pulse” events are understudied, and missing from global carbon flux models. Studying pulse events poses significant logistical challenges. The Sedimentation Event Sensor (SES) is a bottom-moored, underwater imaging instrument that collects images of sinking particles. The SES collects images at high temporal resolution and, importantly, sustains those observations over long time periods.  We are using this instrument to detect pulse events as they occur and to then trigger other nearby instruments to change their sampling schedule, or wake up and monitor additional parameters. These advancements work toward more strategic use of power-hungry autonomous instrumentation needed to evaluate numerous possible drivers and ecological impacts of pulse events.

Sediment Event Sensor recovery
Christine Huffard preparing the SES for deployment.