Log Post: Completing the Coral Leg

Overall the second leg of the expedition was successful for both the science and R/V Falkor operations teams. The primary mission for this leg focused on using ROV Global Explorer MK3for long-term studies of deep-sea coral communities near the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. Eight dives of the ROV were completed during the week … Continued

Log Post: Final collections

The research operations ended today with two final dives of ROV Global Explorer MK3. The objective was to collect live specimens of three different coral species for transport back to university laboratories. The targeted location was a shallow water site, 500 meters depth, where scientists had worked previously during this expedition. Morning began with a … Continued

Log Post: Completing Coral Imaging

Today R/V Falkor and ROV Global Explorer MK3 made a second and final visit to a site near the Macondo wellhead. Dr. Chuck Fisher and his team directed the ROV pilots to complete imaging of approximately 40 remaining corals on their list. This was the last imaging dive of the expedition. How do researchers find … Continued

Log Post: Data, More Data

It may be another six months to a year until researchers come back to these study sites. All of the physical samples, digital images, video, and information or “metadata” about how and where the samples were taken are being painstakingly recorded and tracked in logbooks and spreadsheets. The collaborative nature of the overall study—researchers from … Continued

Log Post: Hydroids on Corals

Clusters of feathery hydroids cling to many of the coral colonies that Dr. Chuck Fisher and his team have been studying during the latest scientific deployments of ROV Global Explorer MK3 from research vessel Falkor. Hydroids are signs of coral stress monitored  by scientists. Hydroid-encrusted corals were found in the areas that were directly impacted … Continued

Log Post: Deep-sea Surprises

Just when the seafloor scene becomes repetitive, something unexpected will come into view, reminding you of the mysteries of the deep. The surprise today came around noon when the ROV Global Explorer MK3 encountered a deepwater goosefish (Sladenia shaefersi) resting on a mat of tubeworms between colorful stalks of corals. The fish is otherworldy and … Continued

Log Post: Monitoring Corals Impacted by Oil

R/V Falkor operations today focused on a community of deep-water corals located 11 kilometers southwest of the Macondo wellhead where Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred in April 2010. This site was one of 11 sites of varying distances from the oil spill where Dr. Chuck Fisher and his colleagues conducted ROV surveys within four months after … Continued

Log Post: Collecting Corals

Today’s ROV dive focused on collecting live specimens of two deep-sea coral species for onboard laboratory experiments. Graduate students Dannise Ruiz and Danielle Young will use these specimens to investigate how corals respond to different concentrations of oil and dispersant in controlled settings. ROV Global Explorer MK3 was launched to the seafloor at 500 meters depth … Continued

Log Post: Leg 2 Underway

This morning, R/V Falkor left Pascagoula heading offshore toward a study site about 140 kilometers southeast.  Following the ship familiarization, the arriving group of scientists started preparations for the upcoming sample collections. Captain Heiko Volz conducted a mandatory safety drill so that everyone onboard practiced getting their life jackets and immersion suits and reporting to … Continued

Log Post: Completing the Lander Leg

R/V Falkor docked in Pascagoula at sunup Monday morning. The lander leg team offloaded the two giant landers with their carefully labeled data loggers. They packed assorted boxes of equipment and samples for shipment. Hugs and handshakes were plentiful as eight departing scientists from the lander leg welcomed eight new team members coming onboard, and … Continued