2009 Annual Science Report
University of Hawaii, Manoa Reporting | JUL 2008 – AUG 2009
Developing New Sampling System, Collection of Juan De Fuca Ridge Basement Fluids
Our Deep Biosphere project is designed to exploit the unprecedented opportunities provided by the new generation of long-term borehole- observatories installed on the flanks of the Juan de Fuca Ridge (JdFR) by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, to study the microbial geochemistry and ecology of the sediment-buried ocean basement. The Drill ship drills deep holes through the sediments into the underlying basaltic rocks and then installs a 'CORK’ observatory consisting of casings, fluid delivery lines with seafloor access-spigots, downhole instruments, and a top plug.
Our Deep Biosphere project is designed to exploit the unprecedented opportunities provided by the new generation of long-term borehole-CORK observatories installed on the flanks of the Juan de Fuca Ridge (JdFR) by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, to study the microbial geochemistry and ecology of the sediment-buried ocean basement.
Over this time period we 1) completed engineering/fabrication modifications to our in situ instrument sled (Figure 1) [The instrumentation sleds (e.g., the GeoMICROBE sled) allow for “in situ” (i.e., at the seafloor) geochemical analyses (e.g., electrochemistry) of the 30-65oC fluids that circulate within the sediment-buried basement, as well as the in situ filtration of fluids for ship and shore-based molecular biological, culture, biomass and geochemical procedures]; 2) developed several additional instruments (Figure 2 & 3) for efficient, non-contaminating sampling from CORK observatories; 3) accepted/hired 3 new project graduate students; 4) staged and successfully completed our second submersible research cruise to the Juan de Fuca Ridge flank CORK observatories; 5) presented two talks on the recent engineering developments as well as initial results from our previous (2008) project cruise, one at the Goldschmidt 2009 conference in Davos, Switzerland, and one at the “4th International Symposium on Chemosynthesis-Based Ecosystems -Hydrothermal Vents, Seeps and Other Reducing Habitats” held in Okinawa, Japan.
PROJECT INVESTIGATORS:James Cowen
PROJECT MEMBERS:Dave Copson
RELATED OBJECTIVES:Objective 3.2
Origins and evolution of functional biomolecules
Origins of energy transduction
Earth's early biosphere.
Co-evolution of microbial communities
Biochemical adaptation to extreme environments