May 18, 2015 Jacuzzi Part II
For our last dive, which began on May 16th and ended May 17th , we returned to the Jacuzzi of Despair to take more water and mussel samples. Previously there was some trouble shooting with the laser spectrometer, so the lead scientists wanted to try it again after making a few adjustments. The laser spectrometer was used to measure isotopic gases such as methane and carbon dioxide in situ. Measurements from the CTD on the previous dive indicated that the salinity in the brine pool was as high as ~140ppt. The depth of the brine pool indicated a depth of approximately 17 m, which far exceeds the hypothesized depth of 4 m. In some areas, the brine pool was overflowing, which made for interesting target sites for the scientists. The laser spectrometer and water sampling together took approximately 45 – 60 minutes. Here’s an image of my view from the control van, which is where the ROV pilots, lead scientists, navigators, data managers, and educators watch the dives for every minute the ROVs are deployed.
Viewers of the Nautilus Live can chat with everyone in the control van through the Science Party Line (SPL). I was able to chime in every now and then when questions were asked about how I came to be involved with the program or what my role as part of the data management crew entails. During my 12-4 AM shift it became harder to keep SPL live with conversation especially since we were only sampling, and I said previously sampling took about 45-60 minutes for each site. There was spark in excitement though when an unidentified fish, completely different from any of the other fish we were observing, decided to take a dip into the outflow of the brine pool, which we thought was a little strange. The Jacuzzi of Despair as is stated by its name is known to be high in temperature and salinity, which makes it uninhabitable for many species with the exception of some bacteria. The fish taking a dip seemed to be fine although there were moments when we thought it was dying since it appeared to be floating upside down or on its side.
After the dive on May 17th we processed all the mussel samples, and finished all the dive reports, sample reports, and dive logs required for all three dives. Mussel samples were easier to process the second time around since we only needed to open the mussels and remove any water that may have been inside. Mussels were preserved in -80˚C fridge. The previous processing required removal of gills and preservation in both RNAlater and Gylcerol. Shortly after the dive we began to head to the Port of Galveston, which takes approximately 28 hours from the site.