January 7, 2014 Slideshow

Inside the Jason control van, dozens of video screens display images sent from high-definition cameras on the vehicle at the ocean floor far below.

Spotlights on the bottom of Medea, the partner remotely operated vehicle to Jason, set the ocean aglow during a nighttime recovery.

Once Medea is safely aboard the ship, Jason is lifted onto the deck using a special crane on the ship’s stern.

During four days on the ocean floor, a thick film of bacteria has collected on one of Costa Vetriani’s “colonizers,” a section of plastic pipe with steel mesh attached. (Photo: Donato Giovannelli)

Costa Vetriani removes mussels from a sample of basalt, a type of volcanic rock recovered near a vent site at the bottom. Vetriani plans to cut the basalt into small pieces and use them to test how bacteria colonize sites on the ocean floor.

Donato Giovannelli holds an unlucky flying fish that wound up on the deck of the Atlantis. These fish can use their wing-like fins to leap out of the water and glide from wave to wave—unless, of course, a ship gets in the way.

WHOI researchers Sean Sylva and Jeff Seewald troubleshoot a blocked valve in a gas chromatograph, an instrument they use to analyze the gas content of vent fluids.

Chief Scientist Stefan Sievert removes a hose from the Large Volume Pump, an instrument used to filter microbes from vent fluids at the ocean floor.


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