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: Manzanillo Mexico on Nov 2, 2014

Arrival: Puntarenas Costa Rica on Nov 26, 2014

Supporting documentation:

Operations Area: 9° North Integrated Study Site

Lat/Lon: 9° 50.0′ N / 104° 18.0′ W

Depth Range: 2500 / 2600

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

Science objectives

Scott and Girguis: The relative importance of the two carbon fixation pathways (CBB, rTCA) in Riftia is impossible to infer from the existing data.  Bulk stable carbon isotopic compositions, and the presence and activities of enzymes allied to rTCA and CBB in Riftia symbionts,  do not definitively answer whether one or both pathways are operational in a single individual, and the contribution of each pathway to net carbon fixation.  The objective of this study is to clarify whether the activity of these pathways in Riftia are regulated by environmental conditions (e.g., the relative abundance of redox substrates), internal heterogeneity, or whether both pathways operate simultaneously. 

Sievert/Taylor: Knowledge of the in situ metabolism of microorganisms carrying out CO2-fixation at deep-sea hydrothermal vents is very limited. Particularly lacking are studies measuring rates of autotrophic carbon fixation in situ, which is a measurement ultimately needed to constrain production in these ecosystems. Although recent data suggests that nitrate reduction either to N2 (denitrification) or to NH4+ (dissimilatory reduction of nitrate to ammonium, DNRA) might be responsible for a significant fraction of chemoautotrophic production, NO3--reduction rates have never been measured in situ at hydrothermal vents. We hypothesize that chemoautrophic growth is strongly coupled to nitrate respiration in vent microbial communities. As part of this cruise, we are going to deploy and test a newly developed robotic micro-laboratory, the Vent-Time Series Submersible Incubation Device (Vent-TSSID) for measuring rates of relevant metabolic processes at hydrothermal vents at both in situ pressures and temperatures.

Science Activities

Scott and Girguis:  To address our objectives, it is critical for us to get freshly collected Riftia tubeworms that have been placed in a thermally insulated biobox and sent to the surface as soon after collection as possible (elevators would be fine as long as they were retrieved as soon as they surfaced).  Collected tubeworms would be incubated in high-pressure aquaria in the Girguis lab's pressure van for respirometry experiments.  After they reach steady-state, they will be subsampled for tissues, enzyme assays, and symbiont preparations (we will need some bench space in one of the ship's labs). Symbiont metabolism will be interrogated via 14C-labelling experiments (we will need to use a radioisotope van and have submitted our radioactive materials use request to WHOI).

Sievert/Taylor: Our component of the cruise has 12 dives with DSV Alvin, to allow time for deployment and collection of experiments and for sampling of discrete vents along the axis of the 9°46’N to 9°53’N segment of the East Pacific Rise (EPR). We will focus our activities at Crab Spa, a diffuse flow vent site near Tica, and deploy experiments and sampling equipment, including the Vent-TSSID and a large volume pump (LVP). During the course of the cruise we will perform several deployments of the Vent-TSSID, as well as collect biomass from fluids and biofilms (deployment/recover experimental microbial colonizers) by utilizing a the LVP. Both the Vent-TSSID and the LVP will be deployed as an elevator. It is planned to deploy the instruments and bring them close to the deployment site the night before a dive, and then to position the instruments at the site with Alvin the next day. Alvin will be releasing the instrument either on the same dive or any subsequent dive, after which the instrument will be picked up at the surface. Furthermore, we will carry out additional opportunistic sampling of other diffuse-flow vents. Fluid samples for chemical analyses will be collected at each deployment site using isobaric gas-tight samplers, which will also be used to sample fluids from the focus site for the shipboard incubations. Finally, we will deploy/recover experimental microbial colonizers to collect microbial biofilms, as well as collect Riftia for subsequent ‘omic analyses. We will also perform several water casts at night, using the CTD/Niskin rosette on board Atlantis. 

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

Large capacity slurp samplers (Multi-chamber)
Large capacity slurp samplers (Single Chamber)
Major water sampler(s)
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? 

Water 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