January 9, 2014 Slideshow

Ruby Ponnudarai dissects a giant deep-sea mussel collected at the Crab Spa vent. For the past two years, she has studied symbiotic bacteria that live in the mussels’ gills and provide them with nutrients—yet this cruise has been her first opportunity to go to sea and collect samples in person.

Ruby Ponnudarai removed this whopper of a worm, a parasite called a “polynoid,” from the mussel she dissected in the previous photo.

Matt Rawls, an undergraduate student from Carnegie Institution of Washington, will still be at sea during the first week of classes this semester, so he’s studying up on the ship between stints in the lab.

Stefan Sievert carefully unloads a package of Styrofoam cups decorated by his daughter’s sixth-grade classmates. He plans to send the cups to the seafloor in a mesh bag attached to the next elevator. What do you think will happen to them?

A few hours after going over the side, the elevator carrying the Styrofoam cups returned from the seafloor more than a mile and a half below us. The extreme pressure has crushed them down to a minuscule size. Creating these crushed cups “is a cruise tradition,” Sievert said.

Tucked behind a cluster of pipes and valves on the deck of Atlantis, a fishing rod waits for its next big catch.

François Thomas (left) and Jesse McNichol prepare a solution to track the growth of bacteria in their experiments. (Photo courtesy of Jen Barone)

This chemical locker, located on the starboard deck of the Atlantis, provides an enclosed, fireproof space for researchers to store dangerous chemicals. (Photo courtesy of Jen Barone)


[ Back to today's journal ]