JC24: Dating volcanoes on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge


Cruise diary

Thursday 5 June 2008

Today we were able to recover ISIS from our fourth dive of the cruise having completed our second transect line. During this dive we had reached our payload of samples before the end (still a bit  pick sample happy) but it was decided to continue filming to the end of the transect. Again this meant that it was time for the samples to be processed

For the biology samples to be processed it is important to be able to identify which samples are which. This can be very difficult as unlike the rocks they are not placed into numbered baskets but into a large box on the left side of ISIS. To allow identification a picture is taken of the coral before a sample is taken and then once it is in the arm of ISIS before being put into the box. This allows me to look at the photos and try to identify the samples- however if more than one of the same species is take it can be very difficult.

Once identified a small part is cut off from the coral stem and placed into a tube filled with alcohol- this allows the DNA to be conserved for analysis once the samples are back on land. The rest of the sample are photographed, dried out and labelled for cataloguing once back on land.

Coral before sampling with box at side          

ISIS arm taking coral sample.

We have not only seen corals during our dives here but have also seen some sea cucumbers, anemones, sea urchins fish and sponges- our fingers are crossed for  an exciting shark sighting  but no luck so far.

Camera-shy fish       

Sea cucmber

Sea urchin

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May 2008