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Surprises from the Deep

07/22/2012, 12:00 AM by Lollie Garay
Nick Jake Whole Core Squeezer
Nick Jake Whole Core Squeezer

July 21, 2012

In Brazilian Waters

 APOLOGIES: Web issues may not allow images to load at this time! I’ll post them as soon as I can – for now, text only.

 How I wish I were on deck documenting the work going on in the Plume right now! The team has worked hard to get to this point in the research expedition, and I can’t wait to hear what discoveries they’re making!

However, we’ll check in with Laurie again. In her last communiqué on Thursday she reported that her team was working what was probably the last deep coring of the cruise since the rest of the stations were on the continental shelf.

 Along with some great cores and the last of the crushed cups to come up, they found some unexpected visitors.  Laurie writes: “The first was a deep sea fish, which had its lower jaw caught onto the laundry bag holding the cups!  It is perhaps a gulper eel, but I have yet to talk to the fish specialist as to what he thinks it is. “

 Another surprise was found IN one of the cores. “While measuring the cores in the cold van, I happened to notice something odd protruding from the bottom of the core tube… After calling in the nearby biologists for consultation … we determined that it was a type of tube worm.  There is a phyla of worms called 'Sipuncula', commonly known as 'peanut worms'.  They are bottom feeding, burrowing worms. “ http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/sipunculid

 “This station happened to be in much more shallow water than we've cored at previously.  Over last two cruises, all of the coring stations occured in waters deeper than 3500m.  This is because in shallower waters, there is enough carbon deposition at the sea floor to support larger organisms like burrowing worms, which move sediment and water 'artificially', or in a way that is different from diffusion alone. “

 “Pumping water through the sediments, as burrowing organisms do, changes the chemistry of the pore waters, and makes it much more complicated to model, and explain the processes occurring there.”

 “However, since this is probably our only opportunity to get cores from this area, we are coring at every opportunity, and will learn a lot about the sedimentary carbon cycle even though I will be utilizing a different modeling approach than I am using at the deeper sites.”

 I have contacted several other science teams onboard the Atlantis and hope to have new reports soon!






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Question of the Day

  • Do the bacteria in the water make us sick?

    Only a few of them.  Bacteria are in every habitat on Earth, growing in soil, hot springs, radioactive waste, water, as well as in organic matter and the live bodies of plants and animals. Bacteria recycle nutrients, with many steps in nutrient cycles depending on these organisms, such as nitrogen fixation.

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