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Images: The Oceanic Flux Program

October 1997: Deployment of the Oceanic Flux Program sediment trap mooring aboard R/V Weatherbird II (Bermuda Biological Station). Sinking material will be collected in the sample bottles on the rotating plate affixed to the bottom of the trap funnel. The large yellow balls are "hardhats" housing glass deep sea floats. (Judy Leonard)

May 1977: Werner Deuser's first sediment trap is ready for its initial entry into the sea. The ship's crane was used to lower this large trap into the water.

Werner Deuser is shown here aboard R/V Atlantis II in 1977, the year that he initiated the first continuous time series of particle flux measurements in the deep ocean.

The Oceanic Flux Program particle flux record in the Sargasso Sea. The present time series is today one of the very few oceanographic time series extending for more than a decade and by far the longest record of its kind.

Scanning electron micrographs of typical components of the particle flux material collected by the 3,200 meter Oceanic Flux Program trap. (A) A calcite shell of a foraminifer (a one-celled animal) with secondary calcite encrustations. The species composition and carbon and oxygen isotopic ratios of foraminifera shells preserved in ocean sediments are extensively used by paleoceanographers to reconstruct the past ocean environment. (B) A siliceous test of a radiolarian, another one-celled animal. (C) A zooplankton fecal pellet (left) and an unidentified biological aggregate. (D) Assorted skeletal remains of cocco-lithophorids, diatoms, dinoflagellates, and amorphous organic material aggregated inside the elongated fecal pellet shown in C. The elaborate round structures are individual calcite plates (liths) from different cocco-lithophore species.

The long-term trend in the biogenic carbonate to silica flux ratio in the 3,200 meter Oceanic Flux Program trap. Variability in the deep particle flux appears to be forced by large scale changes in the atmosphere/ocean climate system.

Author Maureen Conte prepares to inject the extracted lipids of a trap sample into a capillary gas chromatograph. This instrument is used to separate and quantify up to a hundred different compounds present in a single complex mixture.