Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Cruise Planning Questionnaire

Dimensions: Collaborative Research: An Integrated Approach to Study Energy Metabolism, Carbon Fixation, and Colonization Mechanisms in Chemosynthetic Microbial Communities at Deep-Sea Vents


R/V Atlantis


ROV Jason

Cruise Party

Stefan Sievert: Chief Scientist, Principal Investigator
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Watson Building 207, MS#52 Woods Hole, Ma. USA 02543
+1 508 289 2305

Departure: Puntarenas, Costa Rica on Dec 29, 2013

Arrival: Balboa, Panama on Jan 27, 2014

Mobilization Date: Dec 27, 2013

Demobilization Date: Jan 29, 2014

Supporting documentation:

Operations Area: 9º50' N EPR, NP13

Lat/Lon: 9° 49.599′ N / 104° 17.599′ W

Depth Range: 2400 / 2600

Will the vessel be operating within 200 NM of a foreign country? no

Science objectives

Deep-sea hydrothermal vents, first discovered in 1977, are ‘poster child’ ecosystems where microbial chemosynthesis rather than photosynthesis is the primary source of organic carbon. Significant gaps remain in our understanding of the underlying microbiology and biogeochemistry of these fascinating ecosystems. Missing are the identification of specific microorganisms mediating critical reactions in various geothermal systems, metabolic pathways used by the microbes, rates of the catalyzed reactions, amounts of organic carbon being produced, and the larger role of these ecosystems in global biogeochemical cycles. To fill these gaps, we are carrying out an interdisciplinary, international hypothesis-driven research program to understand microbial processes and their quantitative importance at deep-sea vents. Specifically, we will address the following objectives:

  1. Determine key relationships between the taxonomic, genetic and functional diversity, as well as the mechanisms of energy and carbon transfer, in deep-sea hydrothermal vent microbial communities.
  2. Identify the predominant metabolic pathways and thus the main energy sources driving chemoautotrophic production in high and low temperature diffuse flow vents.
  3. Determine energy conservation efficiency and rates of aerobic and anaerobic chemosynthetic primary productivity in high and low temperature diffuse flow vents.
  4. Determine gene expression patterns in diffuse-flow vent microbial communities during attachment to substrates and the development of biofilms.

Science Activities

The cruise will include 16 dives with DSV Alvin or ROV Jason, to allow time for deployment and collection of experiments and for extensive sampling of discrete vents along the axis of the 9°46’N to 9°53’N segment of the East Pacific Rise (EPR). We propose to deploy experiments/sample a low temperature diffuse flow vent (e.g., Crab Spa; T: 10-30°C), and a higher temperature vent (e.g., L-vent; T: 30-60°C). Furthermore, we will carry out additional opportunistic sampling for a limited set of parameters (e.g., chemistry, 454- pyrotags, FISH, in situ carbon fixation) of vents that fall into these two categories, or that might have developed since the last visit to the site (May 2012). During the course of the cruise we will collect biomass from fluids and biofilms (deployment/recover experimental microbial colonizers) by utilizing a Large Volume Pump (LVP) (McLane WTS 6-1-142LV). We have successfully used this set up in previous cruises and were able to collect up to ~2,000 liters of hydrothermal fluids resulting in enough biomass (cell density is 2-5 x 105 cells per ml) for subsequent ‘omic’ analyses. During large volume filtration, the volume filtered is recorded by the LVP onboard computer and the vent fluid sampled is monitored with a time series temperature probe, H2S, and pH sensors. Fluid samples for chemical analyses will be collected at each deployment site using the isobaric gas-tight samplers, which will also be used to sample fluids from the two focus sites for the shipboard incubations. Finally, we will deployment/recover experimental microbial colonizers to collect microbial biofilms.We have successfully used these devices in previous cruises to collect sufficient biomass for metatranscriptomic analyses.

Pre-cruise planning meeting: Visit WHOI

Media personnel on board: Video, Writer
This cruise will be featured on Dive & Discover


  Station 1
  Distance: 1,150
  Days: 16
  Latitude: 9° 49.599’ N
  Longitude: 104° 17.599’ E

Funding Agency: NSF #1136727

- added NSF #1136727 on Sep 2, 2013 1:50 PM by Stefan M. Sievert

R/V Atlantis

Shipboard Equipment

Deionized Water System
Fume Hood
Navigation - Heading
Relay Transponder for Wire Use
Transponder Navigation - Sonardyne USBL
Science Underway Seawater System

Shipboard Communication

Basic Internet access via HiSeasNet
Is there a need to receive data from shore on a regular basis?
Is there a need to transfer data to shore on a regular basis?
Is there an expectation to use Skype or any other real-time video conference program?

CTD/Water Sampling

911+ Rosette 24-position, 10-liter bottle Rosette with dual T/C sensors
SBE43 oxygen sensor
Wet Labs FLNTURTD Combination Flourometer and Turbidity Sensor

Critical CTD Sensors: 

Hydrographic Analysis Equipment

Dissolved Oxygen Titration System (Brinkmann Titrator)
Oxygen Sample Bottles (available in 150 ml sizes)

Sample Storage

Climate Controlled Walk-in
Freezer -70°C 25 cu. ft.
Freezer -70°C 3.2 cu. ft. ea.
Refrigerator 8.6 cu. ft.
Scientific Walk-in Freezer

Storage Notes:


Will you be using Long Base Line (LBL) navigation? no

Will you be using Ultra-short baseline (USBL) navigation for other than Alvin operations? no

Navigation Notes: not sure what's required for Jason


CTD Winch with .322" Electro-mechanical wire
Hydro Winch with .25" hydro wire

Winch Notes:

Wire use and application

CTD Winch with .322" Electro-mechanical wire
Hydro Winch with .25" hydro wire

Wire Notes:
Slip ring required? no Number of conductors: 
Non-standard wire required? no Type: 
Traction winch required? no Describe: 

Portable Vans

Chemical Storage Van

Other Science Vans:

Specialized Deck Equipment

Mooring Deployment/Recovery Equipment Required: no Type: 
Cruise Specific Science Winch Required: no Type: 
Nets Required: no Type: 

Over the Side Equipment

Will you be bringing any equipment (winches, blocks, etc.) that lowers instruments over the side? yes

Details: A McLane in situ large volume pump is going to be deployed as an elevator. It is planned to bring the pump close to the deplyment site the night before a dive by wire and then to position at the site with Alvin the next day. Either on the same dive or the following dive Alvin is going to release the pump. This procedure has been tested very succesfully on previous cruises, the latest being AT15-38. For the deplyment of the pump we will need weights (5 plates) and floats (4 spheres). We plan for ~6 deployments

Special Requirements

Elecrical Power: no Identify: 
Equipment Handling: no Identify: 
Inter/intraship Communications: no Identify: 
Science Stowage: no Identify: 
Water: no Identify: 

Additional Cruise Items/Activities

Explosive Devices: no
Portable Air Compressors: no
Flammable Gases: yes
Small Boat Operations: no
SCUBA Diving Operations: no

Hazardous Material

Will hazardous material be utilized? yes

Radioactive Material

Radioiosotopes: no

Additional Information

Is night time work anticipated on this cruise? yes

Specialized tech support (Seabeam, coring, other): 

Other required equipment and special needs: 

ROV Jason

Site Survey

Will you provide detailed charts of the work area(s)?  no

Current Chart(s):

If no, willl you need Jason to generate maps of the work area(s)?  no

Will you need post-dive maps of the work area generated?  no


Will you be using Long Base Line (LBL) navigation? no

Will you be using Ultra-short baseline (USBL) navigation? no

Will you be using Doppler/GPS navigation? no

Sensors & Samplers

Major water sampler(s)
Large capacity slurp samplers (Single Chamber)
Large capacity slurp samplers (Multi-chamber)
Bio collection boxes 12" x 12" x 16"
High temperature probe (0-480°C)
What type of samples do you expect to collect?
water samples primarily with isobaric samplers, animals (Riftia, mussels), rocks, slurp samples, pick up larval colonization blocks and microbial colonization devices


Will you be using elevators to transport samples to the surface?  yes

If yes, how many would you anticipate?  2-3 per day

Cameras & Video

Video & Photo data

Science Supplied Equipment

Are you supplying equipment to be used on HOV Jason?

Has this equipment been used on Jason before?  yes

Please give a brief description of the equipment, its intended purpose, the cruise # it was last used on if any and its deployment method.
we will bringing equipment to be used and deployed with Jason, not ncessarily attached to it.

1. We will be using Jeff Seewald's isobaric samplers, which have been used with Jason frequently
2. We will be using chemical in situ sensors developed by Nadine LeBris, these are self-contained units that have been frequently used with Alvin (last time on AT15-38), it might be possible to have the sensors directly linked to Jason
3. A McLane in situ large volume pump is going to be deployed as an elevator. Jason will need to move the pump to the deployment site and also release it after filtration is finished (6-12 hours)

Does this equipment use an external pressure housing?  yes

If yes, what is the pressure rating? 
and test pressure? 

Or has the pressure case been tested per Alvin Pressure Test requirements?  no

Housing schematic with dimensions and include air and water weights.

Does the equipment have an associated computer or control panel for remote operation from the personnel sphere?  no

Air weight of this equipment? 

Does the equipment require data or a power interface from the vehicle?  yes

Does this equipment require hydraulic inputs from the vehicle?  no
Hydraulic schematic of the equipment requirements.

Does this equipment require manipulation?  yes

If yes, please describe how the equipment is to be manipulated.
A McLane in situ large volume pump is going to be deployed as an elevator. Jason will need to move the pump to the deployment site and also release it after filtration is finished (6-12 hours)

Will this equipment be deployed off the vehicle?  no

If yes, please describe how the equipment is intended for deployment.

If yes, will the equipment be disconnected from the vehicle and left in situ?  no

How long will the deployment be? 

Will the equipment be recovered by the same vehicle?  no

If recovering equipment deployed with another vehicle, provide pressure rating: 
and test pressure: 

Does this equipment use any glass spheres for either buoyancy or as pressure housings?  no

Hazardous Material

Will hazardous material be utilized? no

Additional Information

Brief operations description or comments:
The McLane large volume pump weihjs ~150 lbs in air and ~90 lbs in water, the pressure housing for the batteries is rated to 5,000 m
Date Submitted: Oct 4, 2013 1:59 PM by Stefan M. Sievert