ECOGIG: March '13 cruise Blog Entry #2

Note: This is a guest post by Dr. Beth Orcutt, Senior Research Scientist at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Maine. Orcutt is a participant in the ECOGIG project and will be blogging here about her experiences on the March 2013 RV Pelican ECOGIG cruise to deploy deep-sea landers in the Gulf of Mexico.

ECOGIG: March '13 cruise: Blog #2

The team of scientists are now in the final preparations for the lander cruise to begin next week. Phone calls today to discuss the weather forecast put out by the National Weather Service suggest reasonable sea wave heights that shouldn't threaten the safety of our crew or equipment during deployment operations. I'll be flying down to New Orleans tomorrow night to meet the rest of the team for mobilization operations taking place in Cocodrie, Louisiana, the home of the RV Pelican ship that we will be using for this work.

Speaking of work, are you wondering what it is that we will be doing? As mentioned in my previous post, our team - the ECOGIG "lander team" - designed a unique platform for conducting long-term studies of deep-sea microbiology and chemistry in response to hydrocarbon (i.e. methane and oil) inputs to the deep sea in the area of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill event. Back in November, I was able to participate in an ECOGIG cruise using the RV Falkor (operated by the Schmidt Ocean Institute) to recover two of these so-called "landers" that had been on the seafloor for 7 months. Due to some weather complications, we were unable to accomplish the objective of deploying new landers at that time. This cruise has the purpose of deploying these replacement landers.

Curious to know what those recovered landers looked like? Check out these excellent web stories from our November cruise:

Long-term effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Land(er) Ho

Landing the Lander

OC26 Lander Recovered

Completing the Lander Leg

Until next time,
Beth Orcutt
 

Gallery 
ECOGIG lander experiments in the Gulf of Mexico to study microbial responses to hydrocarbon inputs. Photo by Beth Orcutt.