After months of prep, and a few busy days docked at Snug Harbor, Honolulu, we’re finally on our way to the Loihi Seamount!
There are 19 scientists on board the R/V Thompson—microbiologists and biogeochemists looking to discover the secrets of the Zetaproteobacteria. These beautiful microbes live off the iron-rich fluids emanating from Loihi Seamount, a submarine volcano just off the coast of the Big Island.
Our objective is to learn how and why the different kinds of Zetas are distributedon the Seamount, and how they shape the microbial communities in which they live.
We’re led by Chief Scientist Craig Moyer (Western Washington U.) along with co-PIs Dave Emerson (Bigelow Lab) and Clara Chan (U. Delaware), and their post-docs and students. Filling out the team are Brian Glazer’s group (U. Hawaii), Jason Sylvan (USC), Karyn Rogers (Carnegie), Shingo Kato (RIKEN), folks from Alfred Spormann’s lab (Stanford), and Cat Wolner (NSF). Our workhorses underwater are the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Sentry and the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Jason II. When we get to Loihi, we’ll deploy Sentry first to do some mapping, and then send Jason down to be our eyes and hands. The two make an unbeatable team!
No doubt that safety is first on this ship—here we are at our ship safety briefing.
–Clara Chan, U. Delaware
Photo credits: Clara Chan
Map of Hawaiian Islands: SOEST