Open Source Publications

Manuscripts from some of our earliest expeditions, which took place in 2012 and 2013, were published this summer, demonstrating that data collected from R/V Falkor continues to provide new knowledge to the scientific community.

Separation of an upwelling current bounding the Juan de Fuca Eddy
In 2013, R/V Falkor investigated the region of Vancouver Island’s continental shelf, specifically the Juan de Fuca Eddy region, collecting extensive temperature, salinity, and oxygen observations. The data revealed that the shelf current flowing towards the equator and mixing with the waters of the Juan de Fuca Eddy appears to separate and be pushed offshore. While this detachment is often seen in satellite data, in situ observations indicate that the separation reaches the full depth of the water column and may be driven, in part, by the local seafloor bathymetry. This separation marks a strong cross-shelf exchange event, which is important to the health and productivity of the region, allowing for nutrient-rich coastal water to be transported offshore and exchanged with the oxygenated offshore water, driving productivity.

A raw sonar image of Folger Pinnacle created during the 2013 Open Ocean to Inner Sea expedition.

Species-specific responses of marine bacteria to environmental perturbation
During R/V Falkor’s science verification cruises in the Gulf of Mexico in 2012, the ecosystem effects of, and responses to, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill were examined. This study analyzed the responses of marine bacteria to the dispersants used to mitigate the effects of the spilled oil. The gene expressions of the bacteria in their natural environment were combined with a collection of common and unique genomes, generating core-accessory metatranscriptomes, for two microbes known to degrade hydrocarbons and play essential roles in the aftermath of the oil spill. Two distinct modes of response to environmental perturbation were revealed: an opportunistic lifestyle of responding to the presence of dispersants and a specialized and well-adapted hydrocarbon-degrading lifestyle. The analytical approach used offers a robust way to identify the underlying mechanisms of key microbial functions and can lead to a more widespread understanding of the responses of individual species to changes in their environment.

Oceanographer Ian MacDonald and graduate student Mauricio Silva collect a surface oil sample for analysis during the 2012 Long-Term Effects of the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill expedition.

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Chapter 6 Newsletter – 2023 • Menu
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