Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Cruise Planning Synopsis

view revisions



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: Dec 29, 2013

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Arrival: Jan 27, 2014

Balboa, Panama

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.

Additional Info

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

Supporting documentation:


Funding Agency: NSF
Grant or contract number: 1136727

Scientific Instrumentation for 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

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 need to keep samples on board until first USA port call early Feb 2014.   Geoff Wheat cruise will occupy freezer space as well.


Will you be using Long Base Line (LBL) navigation? no
How many nets? null
How many tansponders? null
Will you be using Ultra-short baseline (USBL) navigation?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
Winch Notes:

Standard Oceanographic Cables

Slip ring required? no
Non-standard wire required? no
Traction winch required? no

Portable Vans

Chemical Storage Van

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 Jason the next day. Either on the same dive or the following dive Jason 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
Describe deployment method and quantity:

Radioactive Material


Additional Information

Is night time work anticipated on this cruise?yes
Specialized tech support (Seabeam, coring, other):
Other required equipment and special needs:
Dec 2, 2013 _ Eric B. took off O2Titrator.  Stefan confirmed they will not require this.

Scientific Instrumentation for HOV Jason

Current Chart(s):

<Could not load the preview of ROV Jason Information data >

Site Survey

Will you provide detailed charts of the work area(s)?no
If no, willl you need R/V Atlantis 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
How many nets? 0
How many tansponders? 0
Will you be using Ultra-short baseline (USBL) navigation?no
Will you be using Doppler/GPS navigation? no
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 yes
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?
Has the pressure housing been tested per Alvin Pressure Test requirements? no
Pressure 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?

Checklist & Notes


U.S. Customs Form: no
Diplomatic Clearance: no
Date Submitted:
Date Approved:
Agent Information:
San Diego pre mobilzation Nov 15-16.

Master R/V Atlantis
Attn: Scientist's Name - AT26-10
c/o Paxton, Shreve & Hays Inc.
453 54th Street Suite 101
San Diego, CA   92114

Contact: Tom Jenkins
Phone: (619) 232-8941
Fax: (619) 232-3006
Telex: 6731029 SHREVE SDG
Email: marineops@pshinc.net

SHIP WILL BE DOCKED at 10th Avenue Marine Terminal
623 Switzer St. San Diego CA. 92101

Master R/V Atlantis
Attn: Scientist's Name - AT26-10
c/o Vasile Tudoran Transport
819 Ohio Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90804

Contact: Vasile Tudoran
Phone: (562) 882-5590
Fax: (562) 434-9800
Email: vtudoran@aol.com

Local Address for Large Shipments:

Master R/V Atlantis
Attn: Scientist's Name - AT26-10
Aptdo 76
Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Manuel Fernandez
Phone: 011-506-2661-1529
Fax: 011-506-2661-2779

Manuel Fernandez, cell #011 506 8862 6787

Note: Agent and WHOI contacts should be copied on all communications. It is requested that shipment information of any equipment be communicated to the Agent and WHOI contacts
Embarkation port Puntarenas Costa Rica
Disembark port will be Balboa Panama.
US 4455's custom declaration forms to be submitted to Eric Benway by Nov 21 2013.
Isotope Use Approval: no
Isotope Notes:
no rads on this cruise.
SCUBA Diving: no


SSSG Tech:
Allison Heater, Catie Graver
Pre load equipment, chems and gases in San Dieog CA. Nov 22, 23.  All customs documents to Eric By Nov 21.   Items to be loaded into the science hold. 

Mob will take place Dec 26 - Dec 28 in Puntarenas CR.  Ship will be at anchor and launches will be schedued from shore to ship.

Demob in Balboa Panama Jan 28, 29