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Wetlands and Aquatic Research Center - Florida
Cruise Log: 9/14/2009
Into The Unknown
Steve W. Ross, Chief Scientist
We have brought a huge arsenal of equipment and expertise to collect as much information as possible and take full advantage of this expensive ship time. That is one reason we work 24 hour shifts. Our crew is composed of veterans, most of whom have worked together now for several years. They go about the business of setting up ship quickly and efficiently. Our most sophisticated tool is the Johnson-Sea-Link (JSL) submersible. This four-person (two scientists) submersible can dive to just over 900 m and carry a large payload of sampling gear. We use it to conduct video camera transects and video recordings of collections, to collect samples with a grab, a suction device, with cores, and to deploy traps and other experiments. It has instruments to record basic water chemistry data (salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen). We will use the JSL to conduct two dives per day, each lasting around 3 hours.
In addition to the JSL, we will operate more standard oceanographic sampling gear. We will deploy a CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth, + other measurements) instrument to record water column data at every site. We will use a small research trawl to give us background data on the bottom communities surrounding the deep reef habitats. Box cores will be used to bring back an intact bite of the bottom which will be analyzed for its geological construction as well as the biota it contains. A variety of traps will be deployed at some sites to collect larger animals that cannot be caught by other methods.
We have high expectations. Stay tuned as we work our way through the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
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