Log Post: Amphipod-mania

I’ve always been a fish person. Like many, I have long been captivated by the colorful triggerfish and wrasses of the reef, the coiling strangeness of wolf eels and sixgill sharks, the complex camouflage of flatfish and sculpins, just to name a few. I was never much interested in invertebrates beyond octopuses, one of the … Continued

Log Post: Where are the Gonads

This is science so we can’t be shy – let’s take a closer look at gonads. This is science so we can’t be shy. Gonads are sexual organs; females have ovaries and males have testes, and collectively they are called gonads. My job on this cruise is to collect the gonads from any hadal invertebrates … Continued

Log Post: So, You Want to go to Sea

In short, yes you do!  The expedition thus far has been so much fun. Falkor is a marvelous ship that is both comfortable for living and beautifully well-equipped for science. So now the question remains, how do you get onto a ship like Falkor? Well, you could go as a scientist, but they are not … Continued

Log Post: Spaghetti and Elephants – Measurements Explained

So the sun rises on another day of science. Science itself doesn’t sleep and throughout the night the ship has been slowly mapping over our next deployment site some 9km below us. This brings me to my first observation of the day. One of our scientists asked me what the depth was below the ship … Continued

Log Post: The Mariana Paradox

Research into the deepest ecosystem on Earth is currently in somewhat of a quagmire. The technical challenges of the past no longer exist and the last 10 years have seen a renaissance in biological exploration at full ocean depth. However, with ever more sophisticated technology at our disposal, a discrepancy has emerged between opportunities to … Continued

Log Post: Extreme Evolution

The deep ocean trenches like the Mariana are fascinating places to study evolution. For species to be able to survive and thrive in the extreme environmental conditions of the hadal zone they must have accumulated a whole suite of adaptations, which ultimately will make them very different from their non-deep sea counterparts. Indeed, it has … Continued

Log Post: Dirty Secrets at the Bottom of the Trench

If you have ever played in the mud as a child and were consumed with delight then you’ll understand how this expedition feels for me, it’s all about the mud! The sea floor of the Mariana Trench is a mixture of geological features, including exposed rock and areas of soft-sediments.  These soft-sediments are mostly made … Continued

Log Post: An MT in the MT (Mariana Trench)

This is my 68th science cruise as a Marine Technician and my first at the Mariana Trench –a career highlight for those who work in oceanography. However, I am not a scientist by trade and my degree isn’t in marine biology or oceanography – its computer science. My job on-board research vessel Falkor is to … Continued

Log Post: Sink It – The First Lander Recoveries

Sink it—bring it up, sink it—bring it up.  Sinking the equipment is fun, but bringing it back is the real thrill. A lander is a mechanical platform system that can independently hold instruments, carry tools, produce imagery, measurements, etc. for underwater observation and sampling. Every lander sinks with flotation devices and weights attached beneath it; … Continued

Log Post: Life Under Pressure – 100 Elephants on Your Head

One hundred adult elephants standing on your head. That is about the weight you would feel at the bottom of the Mariana Trench from nearly 11,000 m (7 miles) of water above! Water’s weight creates pressure (more properly, hydrostatic pressure), one of the most important factors affecting deep-sea life. Pressure increases by 1 atmosphere (atm) … Continued