Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Cruise Planning Synopsis

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AT42-12: Orcutt "Slow Life"


R/V Atlantis


ROV Jason

Cruise Party

Stephanie Carr: Principal Investigator
Hartwick College USA
+1 607 431 4410

Olivia Nigro: Principal Investigator
Hawaii Pacific University USA
+1 808 236 5827

Beth Orcutt: Chief Scientist, Principal Investigator
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences USA
+1 207 315 2567 ext. 312

Michael Rappé: Principal Investigator
Organization Name USA
+1 808 236 7464

Departure: May 15, 2019

Newport, OR, USA

Arrival: May 28, 2019

Newport, OR

Operations Area

eastern flank of the Juan de Fuca Ridge, northeast Pacific Ocean
Lat/Lon: 47° 45.5′ N / 127° 45.7′ W
Depth Range: 2500 / 2700
Will the vessel be operating within 200 NM of a foreign country? Canada
Are visas or special travel documents required? no

Science Objectives

This expedition is supported through one primary U.S. National Science Foundation award (OCE-1737017, “Microbial activity in the crustal deep biosphere”) to the Chief Scientist. In addition, complimentary research is being funded by one complimentary NSF award (OIA-1826734) to the Chief Scientist and three other investigators at the Chief Scientist’s institution (Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, East Boothbay, ME, USA); companion (pending) awards to collaborators at the University of Hawaii (Michael Rappé, OCE-1851582), Hawaii Pacific University (Olivia Nigro, OCE-1851045), and Hartwick College (Stephanie Carr, OCE-1851099); and a (pending) NASA award to the Chief Scientist (18-EXO18-0048). These awards support multidisciplinary sampling and experiments at subseafloor borehole observatories in oceanic crust on the eastern flank of the Juan de Fuca Ridge to assess microbiological processes in the deep biosphere. These experiments are intended to answer questions about how microscopic life survives under energy limitation in this subsurface habitat, to determine rates of biomass production and chemical cycling, to assess the interactions of viruses with hosts, and to conduct guided cultivation efforts.

The primary work area is on the eastern flank of the Juan de Fuca Ridge (Table 1, Figure 1). Six long-term borehole observatories (CORKs) in a 2.5 square kilometer area are separated by distances of 40 to 2460 m, five aligned along a northeast trend (Holes 1026B, U1301A, U1301B, U1362A, and U1362B) and one located 2.2 km to the east (Hole 1027C; Figures 2, 3). All of these holes were drilled, cased, cored, and tested, then instrumented with CORKs using the drillship JOIDES Resolution. These instrumented sites allow continuous monitoring of pressure and temperature at depth, sampling of fluids and microbiological material, and measurement of fluid flow rate using autonomous instrumentation (Figure 4). Most of these CORK systems require servicing with a submersible or ROV to download pressure data, recover samples, manipulate valves, and replace a variety of experimental systems (Figure 4). This is the primary operational goal of this scientific research, which will use the ROV Jason from the R/V Atlantis (operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Table 2).

Secondary objectives may include (if time permits, Table 1): servicing additional CORK systems located nearby the main work site, and/or mapping/sampling at nearby Baby Bare, Grizzly Bare, Mama Bare, Wuzza Bare, or Zona Bare outcrops (within 50 nmi of primary work site).

Science Activities

Specifically, we aim to accomplish the following objectives (Table 2), in order of priority:

-       Deploy custom incubation devices on the top of the Hole U1362B CORK to examine microbial growth rates and active community members in situ.

-       Collect small volume (~200ml each) crustal fluid samples from the tops of Holes U1362A and U1362B CORKs with custom “squeezer” syringes to examine fluid chemistry and microbial diversity.

-       Collect large volume (10s of liters) crustal fluid samples (and filters after in situ filtration) from multiple depth horizons of Holes U1362A and U1362S CORK through use of the mobile pumping system (MPS) coupled to Medium Volume Bag Samplers (MVBS) and Large Volume Bag Samplers (LVBS) for microbial cultivation, various ‘omics analyses, and viral analysis.

-       Filter large volumes of crustal fluids from Holes U1362A/B for viral particle concentration through standalone filtration units deployed on the CORK wellheads and tapping into discrete horizons via umbilicals.

-       Recover and deploy “OsmoSamplers” on the Hole U1362A/B wellheads for temporal tracking of chemical conditions in subsurface crust.

-       Attempt to quantify in situ gas (methane) concentrations with in situ sensors and gas-tight fluid collection.

-       Download pressure data from Holes U1362A/B.

-       Leave Holes U1301A, U1362A, and U1362B sealed with top plugs.

-       Measure temperatures of crustal fluids.

-       Deploy a flow meter on Hole U1362A.

-       Conduct full ocean depth CTD Niskin Rosette casts to examine microbial activity and diversity in the dark ocean water column.

-       If time permits (unlikely), conduct exploratory dives at nearby outcrops to find sites of diffuse venting for sampling and characterization.

-       If weather or mechanical issues arise that preclude ROV dives, we will collect multi-beam bathymetric data.

Additional Info

Pre-cruise Planning Meeting: Teleconference
Media personnel on board: pending
pending, person from Academy for Creative Media at Univ. Hawaii


Supporting documentation:



Funding Agency: NSF
Grant or contract number: 1737017

Scientific Instrumentation for R/V Atlantis

Shipboard Equipment

Deionized Water System
Transponder Navigation - Sonardyne USBL
Navigation - Heading
Fume Hood
Navigation - Position

Shipboard Communication

Basic Internet access via HiSeasNet
Is there a need to transfer data to shore on a regular basis?

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 Refrigerator
Storage Notes: We want to have both walk-in units set to 4C. We will need to use the -70C freezers as well as the shipboard liquid nitrogen generator.


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: for ROV Jason and elevator ops.


CTD Winch with .322" Electro-mechanical wire
Trawl Winch with 9/16th trawl wire
Winch Notes: Crane needed for elevator deployments/recoveries.

Wire use and application

Trawl Winch with 9/16th trawl wire
Winch Notes: Instruments to be deployed on Jason or on the WHOI elevator are described in Table 3 in the supplemental file.

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: no Identify 
Equipment Handling: no Identify: 
Inter/intraship Communications: no Identify: 
Science Stowage: no Identify: 
Water: yes Identify: will occasionally need 20L of deionized water per day

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:
We may have small tanks of compressed methane gas and/or carbon monoxide gas. These can be stored outside of the lab. Full details on limited quantity hazmats will be provided closer to the cruise date.

Radioactive Material


Additional Information

Is night time work anticipated on this cruise?yes
Specialized tech support (Seabeam, coring, other):
crew may be needed for nightime ROV launch/recovery, and/or for CTD launch/recovery. If weather is really bad and prevents ROV or CTD work, we may use the multibeam (and might need to transfer large files to shore for help processing data).
Other required equipment and special needs:

Scientific Instrumentation for HOV Jason

Current Chart(s):
see Table 3 see Table 3

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? null
How many tansponders? null
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?CORK borehole fluid samples mostly, maybe some sediment cores. See details in supplemental file.


Will you be using elevators to transport samples to the surface?yes
If yes, how many would you anticipate? We will use elevators in support of almost every ROV dive, to deploy and recover third-party equipment and samples. See supplemental file for more details.

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.
See supplemental file for more detail. Most equipment has been used previously on either cruise AT39-01 (2017 North Pond) or AT42-01 (2018 Lost City). The exception is a new PVC-based incubation device being designed by chief scientist Orcutt, which will be brought down to the WHOI labs once assembled for verification.
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? yes
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?
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:
Please see the Supplemental File for more details.
Will this equipment be deployed off the vehicle? yes
If yes, please describe how the equipment is intended for deployment:
Please see the Supplemental File for more details.
If yes, will the equipment be disconnected from the vehicle and left in situ? yes
How long will the deployment be?
Will the equipment be recovered by the same vehicle? yes
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
Describe deployment method and quantity:

Additional Information

Brief operations description or comments:
- I'm assuming that basemap files from AT26-18 are still on hand and can be loaded into Jason nav system
- Will provide Alvin certification documentation at a later time, have to get from co-PIs

Checklist & Notes


U.S. Customs Form: no
Diplomatic Clearance: no
Date Submitted:
Date Approved:
Agent Information:
Isotope Use Approval: no
Isotope Notes:
SCUBA Diving: no


SSSG Tech: