We’ve been really busy onboard the research vessel Gyre. Today we are sampling about 10 nautical miles northwest of the Deepwater Horizon well head in the Gulf of Mexico where our primary job is to take sediment samples using our 12-tube multi-corer. (So far we’ve had fantastic luck and have managed to pull up nearly 12 full cores every time!) In our onboard lab, we analyze the sediments to assess their toxicity (if any) and analyze sediments and water for the presence of oil or other contaminants. We also assess any bacterial response. This can help us learn how an increase of oil in the deep water environment may have affected the resident bacteria and other organisms.
But, in addition to sediment, our team is also conducting CTD casts, gathering acoustic data, and even using an underwater camera to take deep water photographs of fish, crustaceans, and other sea life. (We’ll have more details about that project later.) In charge of our fine vessel is Captain Mike Harkreader and the research team is led by Chief Scientist Neil Summer of Ecolyse, Inc. Altogether there are 31 of us on board.
Tomorrow we have plans to deploy the underwater camera and collect more sediment samples. We are also in the process of building a gimbal table to stabilize our onboard standard analytical scale. Check back tomorrow for photos and more details about operations aboard the research vessel Gyre!