Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Cruise Planning Synopsis

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AT37-12 Sievert "In situ Rates"


R/V Atlantis


HOV Alvin

Cruise Party

Jeremy Rich: Principal Investigator
University of Maine 93 Clarks Cove Rd Walpole, ME USA 04573
+1 207 563 8302

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

Craig Taylor: Principal Investigator
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Watson Building 209, MS#52 Woods Hole, Ma. USA 02543
+1 508 289 2354

Departure: Apr 24, 2017

Manzanillo Mexico

Arrival: May 14, 2017

Puntarenas Costa Rica

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

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 use a recently developed robotic micro-laboratory (Vent-SID) to measure rates of chemoautotrophic production and to determine the relative importance of oxygen and nitrate in driving chemosynthesis at hydrothermal vents at both in situ pressures and temperatures and to tackle the following currently unresolved science objectives: 1) obtain in situ rates of chemoautotrophic carbon fixation, 2) obtain in situ nitrate reduction rate measurements, and 3) directly correlate the measurement of these processes with the expression of key genes involved in carbon and energy metabolism. 

Science Activities

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-SID 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 the LVP. Both the Vent-SID 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 are also planning to perform several water casts at night, using the CTD/Niskin rosette on board Atlantis. 

Additional Info

Pre-cruise Planning Meeting: Visit WHOI
Meeting Notes: Sievert/Taylor are at WHOI
Media personnel on board: not sure yet


  Station 1
  Distance: null
  Days: null
  Latitude: 9° 50.0’ N
  Longitude: 104° 18.0’ W

  Station 2
  Distance: null
  Days: 12
  Latitude: 9° 50.0’ N
  Longitude: 104° 18.0’ W

Supporting documentation:

Notes: Q&A

From the Chief Mate

Q: “It sounds like night ops would consist of deploying and recovering elevators (maybe 1 per night) and CTD's.  Are there any other night operations planned, and if so, what ship's equipment would they use?”

A: No other night ops planned. For the CTD we might move away a couple of hours from the dive site. We probably will have night ops every night, but probably not elevators every night. 

From SSSG@Atlantis
Q: “Stefan - tell me what will be different about this cruise than your other cruises in the past?”

A: It will be very similar to previous cruises, especially AT26-23, during which we used the Vent-SID.


Funding Agency: NSF
Grant or contract number: OCE-1559198

Scientific Instrumentation for R/V Atlantis

Shipboard Equipment

Deionized Water System
Relay Transponder for Wire Use
12 kHz Pinger for Wire Use
Transponder Navigation - Sonardyne USBL
Navigation - Heading
Fume Hood
Navigation - Position

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

Freezer -70°C 25 cu. ft.
Climate Controlled Walk-in
Freezer -70°C 3.2 cu. ft. ea.
Refrigerator 8.6 cu. ft.
Storage Notes: Girguis/Scott: It would be helpful to have a climate controlled space at 15C with bench space and room for two scientists to work.  Let us know if this is possible.


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:


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

Wire use and application

Hydro Winch with .25" hydro wire
CTD Winch with .322" Electro-mechanical 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? no

Special Requirements

Elecrical Power: yes Identify See Girguis Lab pressure van above
Equipment Handling: no Identify: 
Inter/intraship Communications: no Identify: 
Science Stowage: yes Identify: We would like to consider leaving the pressure van on the ship until we reach a US port.
Water: yes Identify: See pressure van

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):

Sievert/Taylor/Rich/White: we will be perfoming water casts using the ship-board CTD/Rosette system, we will also deploy elevators the night before an Alvin dive

Other required equipment and special needs:

Scientific Instrumentation for HOV Alvin

Current Chart(s):

What type of samples do you expect to collect?water samples primarily with majors, animals (Riftia, mussels), rocks, slurp samples, pick up larval colonization blocks and microbial colonization devices

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 for other than Alvin operations?yes

Vehicle Equipment

Search sonar
Bio collection boxes: 12 x 12 x 24
Bio collection boxes: 12 x 12 x 12
Large capacity slurp samplers: multi-chamber
Small capacity slurp samplers
Scoop nets
Major (dual) pair water sampler(s) with ICL temperature probles
Special micro-bio box 12" x 18" x 12"


Will you be using elevators to transport samples to the surface?yes
If yes, how many would you anticipate? Vent-SID: 4 LVP: 2-4

Science Supplied Equipment

Are you supplying equipment to be used on HOV Alvin yes
Has this equipment been used on Alvin 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 are going to use a a number of instruments, most of which have been used with Alvin:

1. 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)

3. A McLane in situ large volume pump is going to be deployed as an elevator. Alvin will need to move the pump to the deployment site and also release it after filtration is finished (6-8 hours)

4. Vent-SID: This is a newly developed isntrument that has been used with Alvin during AT26-23. The pressure senstive components have been pressure tested according to Alvin specificications. Fred Thwaites, who is the main engineer of the instrument, has been in touch with Alvin group, and so has Steve Faluotico, who is implementing an ICL to communicate to the instrument from the sphere.

The LVP and Vent-SID are independent units. They will be moved by Alvin and positioned at the sampling site. 

Does this equipment use an external pressure housing? yes
Has the pressure housing been tested per Alvin Pressure Test requirements? yes
Pressure housing schematic with dimensions and include air and water weights.
Air weight of this equipment? 1,200 (Vent-SID); 300 (LVP)
Water weight of this equipment? 480 (Vent-SID); 95 (LVP)
Does the equipment require a power interface from Alvin? yes
Voltage required I am not sure here. We are in the process of implementing an ICL to commnicate with the Vent-SID. Steve Faluotico is the person working on it and he has been in touch with Alvin group (Anthony Tarantino)
Power required
Data Interface Other
Does the equipment meet the electrical requirements of the Alvin User Manual? yes
Please provide power and comms specifics, wiring diagram, pinout, and wiring harness in advance of the cruise.
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:
LVP and Vent-SID need to be moved by Alvin, intake wand needs to be placed in opening of vent, instrument weights need to be released at end of operation
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
Do you intend to recover any other previously deployed equipment? no
If yes, please describe this equipment:
Does this equipment use any glass spheres for either buoyancy or as pressure housings? yes
Does the equipment have an associated computer or control panel for remote operation from the personnel sphere? yes
Has the computer or control panel been gas tested for use in the personnel sphere? yes

Hazardous Material

Will hazardous material be utilized?no
Describe deployment method and quantity:

Additional Information

Brief operations description or comments:
Navy Clearance:
Granted 4/20/2017:
WITHIN 150 NM RADIUS OF 09-50N 104-18W DURING PERIOD 240000T APR THRU 142400T MAY 17

Checklist & Notes


U.S. Customs Form: no
Diplomatic Clearance: no
Date Submitted:
Date Approved:
Agent Information:
In COSTA RICA (preloading only)
Contact: Vasile Tudoran
Phone: (562) 882-5590
Fax: (562) 434-9800
Email: vtudoran@aol.com

Local Address for Large Shipments:

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

In Mexico:
Primary Agent:
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

Master R/V Ship Name
Attn: Scientist's Name
c/o Transmex Shipping, S de R.L de C.V.
Constitucion No.27-D Interior
Colonia Burocrata
Manzanillo, Colima
Tel.314 33 2 20 65
Cell: 314 121 48 42
Nextel: 1206098 / ID-72*153248-*
Cost Rica
Vent-SID Components are being shipped to Costa Rica to be loaded during the Luther mobilization:
1. Vent-SID Top frame box (56" * 41" * 93"), 1,200 lbs
2. Vent-SID Bottom frame box (69" * 69" *41), ~300 lbs
Isotope Use Approval: no
Isotope Notes:
SCUBA Diving: no


SSSG Tech:
Allison, Catie
Vent-SID can be kept on the outer decks