November 29, 2011 Slideshow

Just three weeks before the cruise began, WHOI postdoc Bill Orsi and chief scientist Ginny Edgcomb were in the lab at WHOI putting together the Submersible Incubation Device-In Situ Microbial Sampler, more affectionately known as SID.

In a lab in Woods Hole, WHOI scientist Ginny Edgcomb reaches into the heart of the SID-ISMS (Submersible Incubation Device-In Situ Microbial Sampler)to attach tubing to a valve. All the parts are numbered to make sure the right fluid goes into the right tube.

WHOI scientist Craig Taylor used a lathe to fashion this inlet device out of polycarbonate. The central post contains crossed passageways through which water flows to a central valve and then to each filter unit. The shape of the device allows it to slice into layered fluids with minimal mixing of the layers, so that samples can be drawn from a specific area.

Craig Taylor and Ginny Edgcomb wheel SID from the starboard deck toward the main lab after uncrating it while Atlantis was at the dock in Piraeus, Greece last week.

Just before the SID-ISMS’s first mission, Craig Taylor and Maria Pachiadaki of Technische Universität Kaiserslautern bolt a turbidity meter to a chain hanging from the bottom of the instrument’s frame. They used the turbidity sensor to signal when SID-ISMS was approaching a Deep Hypersaline Anoxic Basin, or DHAB. It sends out a beam of light and measures how much it is scattered by particles in the water. DHAB water contains so much salt and particulate matter that it is murkier than normal seawater.

Like a proud papa, Craig Taylor leans over the rail to get a good view of his invention on the first time it was used on a scientific mission.

And it’s off! The SID-ISMS enters the Mediterranean Sea for its first mission on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011.

In this image from the multibeam sonar on R/V Atlantis, blue is deeper and red is shallower. The deep Urania Basin (aqua) is shaped like a horseshoe. The SID-ISMS (black triangle) was stationed at the end of one arm of the horseshoe during its first dive. Just north of the site is a mud volcano. The dark lines criss-crossing the image are artifacts of the sonar mapping.

And it’s back! After 16 hours at the bottom of the sea, the SID-ISMS is hooked by poles extending out from the Atlantis deck to draw it back to the ship.

Hands reach into the SID-ISMS from all directions as the scientists hurry to remove all the filter chambers and bags and get the instrument re-outfitted for another mission. Clockwise from left: Hera Karayanni, Alexandra Stock, Virginia Edgcomb, Lea Weinisch, Maria Pachiadaki.

In the lab, Hans-Werner Breiner of Technische Universität Kaiserslautern carefully removes the filter from a SID-ISMS filter chamber. A total of 1.5 liters of halocline water passed through the filter, which trapped any cells that were in the water.

Urania Basin has high levels of sulfide, which damages metal parts. One of the 150-pound lead-filled “bullets” used to keep SID–ISMS hanging straight down suffered substantial corrosion after just 18 hours in the DHAB halocline.

[ Back to today's journal ]