Paull Fluid Flow Cruise
October 2 - October 8, 2000
Monterey Bay

October 6, 2000: Day #5

Judy Donaldson writes: The current cruise of R/V Western Flyer began Monday, October 2, 2000. As stated in the cruise plan, the purpose is "to dive in lower Monterey Canyon to investigate the location, sources, and mechanisms that control fluid flow. Secondary objectives include dynamics of the canyon floor, stratigraphy and structure of the canyon flanks, and the penetration of pesticides into the canyon."

The members of the science party are: Charlie Paull (co-chief), Hans Jannasch (co-chief), Bill Ussler, Shana Goffredi, Josh Plant, Norm Maher, Jenny Paduan, and Judy Donaldson (all from MBARI); Patrick Mitts and Aroon Melwani (Moss Landing Marine Labs); and Verena Tunnicliffe (University of Victoria, B.C.) On this cruise Verena Tunnicliffe is working with Shana Goffredi on identification and documention of biological samples. She also wants to learn about the ROV, observe new sampling approaches, and to get ideas about the evolutionary linkage of seep animals versus hot vent animals.

The workday for most of the science party starts at 6:00 a.m. PDT and lasts until midnight or beyond. The pace has been hectic since the first day. Co-Chief Scientists Charlie Paull and Hans Jannasch are in the control room for all of the dive time. A minimum of five people (including two pilots) need to be in the control room at any time during a dive, but 10-13 people are usually crowded in to observe the progress of the dive. Even when the benthic view seems to be endless mud-as it was for a couple of days-everyone watches closely to observe any unusual or interesting features.

Other members of the science party rotate working shifts in the control room. Jenny, Verena, Aroon, and Judy operate the video recorder and the frame-grab and annotation system (aka VICKI). Norm, Josh, Patrick, and Shana are in charge of ArcView, which tracks the path of a dive. Between shifts they continue to process the previous day's samples and prepare for the next batch. As soon as ROV Tiburon is recovered, everyone helps to unload samples, take them to the lab, and begin analysis and documentation. This usually happens right after dinner, and the the whole science party is busy in the lab for several hours.

Some researchers continue after the rest of us are asleep. As soon as the vehicle is aboard, Patrick Mitts (Moss Landing Marine Labs) and his crew start launching the gravity corer from the back deck. The cores must be taken at several locations, so coring work continues long after the main lab activity has ended.  In the chemistry van, Bill Ussler works into the early hours of the morning, analyzing the day's samples. On this cruise, Bill is analyzing pore water-the water within sediments-for concentrations of sulfate, chloride, methane, total dissolved inorganic carbon, and ammonium. He is also measuring concentrations of methane in bottom water (up to one meter above the sea floor). Many samples need to be preserved for tests to be done back on shore, such as analysis for pesticide residue and decay products. Having the on-board chemistry van helps the scientists decide which sites to visit on the next dive.

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