2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas

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NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research’s ROV team prepares the ROV Deep Discoverer for the first dive of the mission.

Tweet Chat paricipants. Top: Shirley Pomponi, Patty Fryer, and Kasey Cantwell. Bottom: Diva Amon, Deborah Glickson, and Kelley Elliott.

Transcript: June 21 Ocean Exploration Tweet Chat

Thanks to everyone who joined us for our Tweet Chat on June 21. In case you missed it, we've posted a copy of the transcript from the conversation below (with Twitter user names removed).



Hello! Welcome to our #OkeanosTweetChat on current #Okeanos expedition to explore deepwaters of Mariana region.

Today we are joined by some pro ocean explorers involved in #Okeanos Marianas exploration. #OkeanosTweetChat

We’ve got scientists Shirley Pomponi & Deborah Glickson from @FloridaAtlantic & @CIOERT. #OkeanosTweetChat

Along with scientists Patty Fryer & @DivaAmon from @uhmanoa. #OkeanosTweetChat

And @oceanexplorer expedition coordinators Kasey Cantwell & Kelley Elliott. #OkeanosTweetChat

Our ladies of science are here to answer your Qs about Marianas expedition or ocean exploration in general. Fire away! #OkeanosTweetChat

Q1: What has been the most significant geological find of the expedition so far? #okeanostweetchat

A1: New hydrothermal vent fields on Leg 1. Vents important for ocean geochem cycles. #okeanostweetchat (from Deb)

Q2: Will you try to isolate natural products from any sponge samples? Can these sponges be cultured? #OkeanosTweetChat

A2: Bio samples go to Smithsonian. Anyone can request. No plans to isolate nat products. #OkeanosTweetChat

A2: Sponges collected so far not yet cultured #OkeanosTweetChat

Q3: #OkeanosTweetChat how did you all get into studying deep sea science?

A3: At uni, my prof said deep-sea was last unexplored habitat. Who can resist that?! #OkeanosTweetChat (Diva)

A3: SCUBA in college-->fell in love w/ ocean. Started w/ #NOAA as marine arch intern in ‘04. #OkeanosTweetChat (Kelley)

A3: Invited to participate in research cruise at Harbor Branch & dove in JSL manned sub! #OkeanosTweetChat (Shirley)

A3: My UG prof @UF was a volcanologist. Showed video of hydrotherml vents & my decision was made! #OkeanosTweetChat (Deb)

Q4: Is there a 2nd submersible on the same tether as #Okeanos that provides the images seen on Camera 2? #OkeanosTweetChat

A4: ROV is 2-body system: Seirios hangs above ROV Deep Discoverer; both attached via cable to ship. #OkeanosTweetChat

Q5: #OkeanosTweetChat how often do the ROVs go down near 6000m? last night's dive was very exciting!

A5: Not often; a treat when we do! On Leg 1, never made it but on Leg 3, should get there or close 3 times. #OkeanosTweetChat (Diva)

A5: Our 1st 6k dive of expdition yday was fantastic! 2nd time vehicles have been that deep #OkeanosTweetChat (Kasey)

Q6: #OkeanosTweetChat Everyone seemed really surprised last night by the carbonate. Did water show a high pH?

A6: No pH sensor on ROV. B/c we didn’t find any active venting, I wouldn’t expect pH to be different. #OkeanosTweetChat (Deb)

Q7: #OkeanosTweetChat Question as a macro/microfauna specialist - do you find animals in your rock samples?

A7: Not yet. some ON rocks. Preserved chunk of carbonate in buffer for presrving DNA maybe microbes in rock #OkeanosTweetChat

A7: Leg 1: Found lots of animals living in/on rocks--called commensals & are bonus samples :) #OkeanosTweetChat (Diva)

A7: Also called “more work for Diva and Shirley”! #OkeanosTweetChat (Deb)

Q8: #OkeanosTweetChat What skill sets does a scientist need to be included on an expedition?

A8: Expedition like this requires people from many different backgrounds & experience. See: http://go.usa.gov/Tm4W #OkeanosTweetChat

Q9: Could there be any oxygen min. zones with fossilized ancient life forms where #Okeanos is exploring? #OkeanosTweetChat

A9: Not sure! Is dissolved oxygen sensor on the sub, so we’d be able to detect an oxygen min. #OkeanosTweetChat

A9: There is reducing environment in serpentinite mud erupting from huge mud volcanoes near trench #OkeanosTweetChat

Q10: Have you done any fishing on the cruise? #OkeanosTweetChat

A10: No fishing. WAY too busy! #OkeanosTweetChat

A10: Not this time. On others - sometimes crew will fish. When successful, dinner is delicious! #OkeanosTweetChat

Q11: #OkeanosTweetChat rookie question: how did the life that's down there get down there in the first place. Or did it evolve THERE?

A11: My bio friends say life probably originally evolved in oceans near a trench!! #OkeanosTweetChat (Patty)

A11: Another theory is that life evolved at hydrothermal vents but we don't know for sure! #OkeanosTweetChat (@DivaAmon)

Q12: #okeanostweetchat How do you choose the dive site for rov? It that ranfom points or you rely on bathymetry data?

A12: Use bathy to decide where to go. Even great ship bathy isnt hi-res enough to “see” all little bumps. #okeanostweetchat (Deb)

A12: 1/3 For each expedition we evaluate dive proposals from community based on our mission objectives #okeanostweetchat

A12: 2/3 We then conduct dive planning calls w/ shore-based science team to refine dive plan. #okeanostweetchat

A12: 3/3 Dive targets are sites we think benthic life will be high, like ridges & seamounts #okeanostweetchat (Kasey)

Q13: Can you give a run down of some of the cool samples you've collected? #OkeanosTweetChat

A13: SO many! Bio: predatory & glass sponges, basket star, holothurian, corals, tunicate #okeanostweetchat (@DivaAmon)

A13: Yday sampled white rock & were stumped. Dropped piece in vinegar -- it FIZZED = Carbonate! (Deb) #okeanostweetchat

A13: I’m a sponge specialist; totally psyched when we find carnivorous sponges! #OkeanosTweetChat (Shirley)

A13: Also found sponge NEVER found in Pacific--only in Caribbean! #OkeanosTweetChat (Shirley)

Q14: I enjoy your work, thank you :) What is the "unexplored" expedition of your dreams? #OkeanosTweetChat

A14: Exploring Mariana Trench been on my bucket list for awhile! I’m living the dream right now! #okeanostweetchat (Shirley)

A14: I want to dive in Deepsea Challenger, if only once!! Check out “Deepsea Challenge” on #Netflix. #okeanostweetchat (Patty)

A14: Agree w/ Shirley & Patty. Working in/around Mariana Trench; visitng in sub would be unreal! #OkeanosTweetChat (@DivaAmon)

Q15: how old are the oldest #deepsea hydrothermal vents? How long does it take for a new one to be colonized? #okeanostweetchat

A15: Lost City carbonate vents dated to >150K! TAG sulfides in Atlantic >140K! #OkeanosTweetChat (Deb)

A15: Thought vents on spreading ridges are older & those on subduction zones are younger #OkeanosTweetChat (@DivaAmon)

Q16: I was fascinated seeing crinoids. Do you think they differ quite a bit from their prehistoric ancestors? #OkeanosTweetChat

A16: They’re called “living fossils”, so they may not be that different! (Shirley) #OkeanosTweetChat

Q17: What is one thing you hope to see during this leg of the dive? What would make you guys act like it was Christmas morning? #OkeanosTweetChat

A17: an active volcano!!!!! (Shirley) #OkeanosTweetChat

A17: A whale fall! I would lose my mind with excitement! #OkeanosTweetChat (@DivaAmon)

A18: All of #Okeanos data is publicly available and can be accessed here: http://go.usa.gov/xqWm4 #OkeanosTweetChat (Kasey)

A18: Full dive recordings have to be requested for each cruise - form can be accessed here: http://go.usa.gov/xqWm4 #OkeanosTweetChat

Q19: what's the weirdest looking animal you saw and do you have pictures? #OkeanosTweetChat

A19: Acorn worms are really weird: http://go.usa.gov/xqKJJ (Kasey) #OkeanosTweetChat

A19: Armored sea robin! Evolution is awesome & crazy! http://go.usa.gov/xqKSQ #OkeanosTweetChat (@DivaAmon)

A19: Liked Leg1 “Pizza” bat fish best! Tho jelly from Leg 1 is a paparazzi star! (Deb) #OkeanosTweetChat

A19: Equally weird- most sea cucumbers: http://go.usa.gov/xqKSe #OkeanosTweetChat (Kasey)

A19: For sure--swimming sea cucumbers! Video: http://go.usa.gov/xqkq4 #OkeanosTweetChat (Shirley)

A19: The pagurid crab with the anemone on its tush! Video: http://go.usa.gov/xqkqk #OkeanosTweetChat (Deb)

Q20: Do you sample the archaean bacteria for genetic analysis? #OkeanosTweetChat

A20: Yes, we presrve samples of macroorganisms in buffer & can be analyzd later by Northeastern OGL #OkeanosTweetChat

Q21: What percentage of the ocean have yet to be explored? Thanks. #OkeanosTweetChat

A21: 95% - most of ocean! But if you add water column it’s even more! #OkeanosTweetChat

A21: Sad that we know more about surface of Moon than the 70% of our own planet that is under water #OkeanosTweetChat

Q22: What contributes more to ocean chemistry, hydrothermal vents or runoff from land? #OkeanosTweetChat

A22: This question has stumped us all! No ocean chemists here sadly! #OkeanosTweetChat @DivaAmon

Q23: Can you explain manganese crust and why it sticks to some stuff but not others? #OkeanosTweetChat

A23: 1/2 Mn crust precip out of ocean & thickness depends on metal concentration in seawater. #OkeanosTweetChat (Deb)

A23: 2/2 Older regions = thicker crust = why old Pacific seamounts so important. #OkeanosTweetChat (Deb)

Q24: #OkeanosTweetChat too early to know for sure but what kinds of pharmacological research is going on in the deep sea?

A24: Chems from sponges/octocorals/bact may be useful treat cancer, infectious diseases, Alzheimer’s, etc. #OkeanosTweetChat

A24: Some great bacteria from deep sea help us wash clothes more effectively at lower temps #OkeanosTweetChat (@DivaAmon)

A24: Understanding how deepsea fish withstand pressure helping develp ways prevent Alzheimers. #OkeanosTweetChat (Patty)

Current Marianas expedition part of 3-yr effort to explore unknown deepwater priorities in Pacific marine nat’l monuments. #OkeanosTweetChat

More on expedition here: http://go.usa.gov/xqWEH #OkeanosTweetChat

We’ve run out of time for #OkeanosTweetChat -- time to get back to exploring!

Next dive in ~1hr to explore Ahyi Seamount, which erupted in 2014, creating underwater explosions heard by #NOAA divers. #OkeanosTweetChat

For current expedition, diving daily between now & July 8. Follow along LIVE here: http://go.usa.gov/cuaNz #OkeanosTweetChat

Thanks for joining our #OkeanosTweetChat! Hope you’ll join us as we continue to explore deep reaches of our unknown ocean.


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