Deep-Sea Survey in the Gulf of Mexico

 
 
With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) a group of researchers from Duke University, North Carolina State University and University of Oregon just completed an intensive deep-sea survey in the Gulf of Mexico. 
 
Photo courtesy of North Carolina State University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution 
 
The major objective of this research cruise was to advance understanding of connectivity in the deep sea. This was done with sophisticated ocean observing technology and platforms including the state-of-the-art deep sea submersible Alvin.
 
Using taxa found at cold seeps the researchers will quantify variability in oceanographic circulation, life histories and biological genetics. Mooring recoveries and deployments, Alvin seep sampling, MOCNESS plankton sampling, AUV Sentry high-resolution mapping, CTD casts, XBT’s and Hydrophone were all conducted. 
 
Photo courtesy of North Carolina State University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution 
 
SECOORA PI Ruoying He (also a co-PI of this NSF project) was a member of the survey science team, making his first Alvin dive to 2500 m (8202 feet). Some of the photos taken during the cruise and his Alvin dive can be viewed here.
 
"My exploration on board Alvin was a very exciting experience. The entire divewasapproximately 8 hours. It took Alvin about 3 hours round-trip traveling between the ocean surface and bottom, and during the rest of time, we wereat the sea floor observing and taking samples. While I knew there is a deep sea marine ecosystem from reading text books and scientific papers, I was still completely blown away when I saw a myriad of marine lives in the pitch dark, freezing cold environment at the bottom of the gulf nearly two miles below the surface. This reminds me how essential observations are for understanding our ocean.” Ruoying said to SECOORA staff.  
 
Photo courtesy of North Carolina State University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution