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Expedition to the Deep Slope focuses on the discovery and characterization of seafloor communities living in association with hydrocarbon seepage. Tubeworm communities, that you see here, are just one of the deep-water habitats that we’ve been focusing on. An incredibly important part of this baseline characterization is an inventory of the organisms, both large and small, that live here.

One of the tools that scientists are using to create this inventory is a net-like device designed by scientists at Penn State University, called the “Bushmaster.” The one we are using on this cruise, “Bushmaster Junior,” is the smaller of the two devices. We’ve increased the speed of this video to show you an entire Bushmaster collection.

The Bushmaster is lowered over the top of a tubeworm bush with the mechanical arm of the submersible. A metal cable on the bottom is then slowly cinched closed, collecting the tubeworm bush and all of the animals inside. The fine-meshed net of the Bushmaster is placed into a small container on the submersible for safe transport back to surface.

Once it reaches the deck of the ship, we carefully remove the bush from the submersible and carry it back to the main laboratory where we begin our attempts to identify and measure everything that was collected. Video courtesy of Expedition to the Deep Slope 2007, NOAA-OE.

 

Related Links

Expedition to the Deep Slope 2007

Expedition to the Deep Slope 2007: July 3 Log

NOAA Ocean Explorer Gallery