Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Research Cruise UPDATE: WB1411 signs off

This is the final post for cruise WB1411, a joint USF, FSU and Georgia Tech effort for the Deep-C project conducted onboard RV Weatherbird II from 29 May through 12 June. During this cruise, Weatherbird II departed from and returned to St Petersburg FL, with a port call in Panama City on 5 & 6 June. The science staff recorded exactly 100 sampling events occupying 19 unique sampling sites, while the Weatherbird II logged continuous hydrographic, current profiles, and bottom depth charts. The science party was 13 initially, but two scientists departed in Panama City due to a minor injury and scheduling conflicts. 

The major focus of the cruise was sediment collections at slope and deep-sea sites using a multiple corer and a piston corer. The team accomplished a total of 53 successful deployments of the multiple corer, from which samples of sediment were obtained for studies of marcofauna, microbiology, and sediment geochemistry. There were 11 multicore attempts that failed to recover any sediment. The multicorer worked very well compared with previous Deep-C cruises. However, two core tubes with their rings were lost. We collected 12 piston cores from nine unique sites, all piston core recoveries were over 2 m in length. One piston core attempt failed, but the liner was reused and the site (PCB-06) was successfully cored later in the cruise. Two benthic surveys with the imaging platform MILET were completed, but problems with the fiber optic cable prevented further work with that instrument. Two bongo-style plankton tows were attempted, but the net tore and this effort was discontinued. The deepest site was XC-4 at 2295 m; shallowest site visited was PCB-04 at 203 m. Using the Weatherbird II CTD-rosette, we collected 18 CTD profiles and recovered water samples during five of the profile events. 

Science party of RV Weatherbird II cruise WB1411, 11 June 2014. 
From left Curtis Okolovitch, Peter Lazaravich, Caroline Johansen, Mau Silva,
Arvind Shantharam, Nikki Morgan, Boryoung Shin,
Ian MacDonald, Xiaoxu Sun, John Kaba, and Ben LaBelle
The cruise workbook including all metadata and the disposition of samples taken from the multicorer and rosette has been completed and QA checked against all sample lists. All digital data, including archival pictures, underway data, and miscellaneous information, has been transferred to the Buffalo data server for transport to FSU. The workbook and server will submitted to Deep-C data management upon return to Tallahassee. 

Support from Captain Baumeister and his crew was outstanding. The deck and engineering operators provided knowledgeable advice and invaluable hands-on assistance. The piston core operations, in particular were only possible with the help of the deck boss. The technical operations were carried out very reliably, the only short coming being intermittent internet access. The FSU marine field group, Peter Lazaravich and Erick Howarth operated the USBL navigation, MILET operations, and data server. 

Finally, as chief scientist, I want to acknowledge and thank the students who did the hard and dirty work, while maintaining extremely high scientific standards and unfailing good cheer, throughout the days of this cruise. They have been a true pleasure to sail with. Good luck in all your future efforts, my friends. 

Posted by:

Ian MacDonald
Florida State University

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