June 25, 2019

Cruise blog: More observing seafloor methane seeps at the edge of hydrate stability

Posted by larryohanlon

June 18: WaterWords of the day — Continental Margin

Map showing the location of the Atlantic margin and the extent of the bathymetric terrain model seaward of the U.S. Atlantic coast.B. Andrews / USGS

Definition: If you have ever gotten grief from a teacher for doodling in the margins of your notebook, you are probably aware that a margin is an edge or a border. The continental margin, then, is the transition zone of the seafloor between the coast and the deep ocean.

Etymology: Continent comes from the Latin phrase terra continens, meaning “continuous land.” Margin also comes from Latin, in this case the word marginem, meaning “border,” or “edge.” 

[Read the rest of the post at https://schmidtocean.org/cruise-log-post/waterwords-of-the-day-continental-margin/

June 19: Hunting Bubbles — Week 01 video update

In this first weekly update for the 2019 #HuntingBubbles expedition, find out where the team is searching for methane seeps and why these features are important to study. Get an inside look at the cutting-edge technology, and amazing views of these stunning environments – as well as the beautiful creatures living there. 


June 20: Source of the seeps 

Snail egg casing rise from a piece of carbonate, held in the arms of ROV SuBastian. The hard exterior of the carbonate forms a valuable anchor for many species that live along the seafloor and provides essential habitat for many others. ROV SuBastian / SOI

Seven days have gone past since we set sail from Astoria, and every day we have looked at these methane seeps. Bubbles, nosy sablefish, half-buried clams, and colorful corals have dominated our ROV feeds from SuBastian. 

But in this log, I would like to shed a little light on a different aspect of all of this: the rocks that lie beneath all of what we have been seeing.

[Read the rest of the post at https://schmidtocean.org/cruise-log-post/source-of-the-seeps/

June 22: WaterWords of the day — Methanogenesis

The vast mussel community was found on flat bottom as well as on rocks rising a meter or more off the seafloor. Image courtesy of Deepwater Canyons 2013 – Pathways to the Abyss, NOAA-OER/BOEM/USGS.

Definition: Anytime you see the word “genesis,” you’re looking at the beginning of something, and methanogenesis is no exception. It refers to the creation of methane by a specific set of microbes (microscopic organisms) that produce methane as a byproduct of digesting their food.

Etymology: Methane comes from the French word methylene, itself made up of the Greek word methy (wine) and hyle (wood). This is because methylene was detected in wood alcohol. Genesis, meanwhile, comes from the old Greek word genos, meaning “birth, descent.”

[Read the rest of the post at https://schmidtocean.org/cruise-log-post/waterwords-of-the-day-methanogenesis/ ]

June 23: WaterWords of the day — Methanotroph

A sample of anoxic seafloor sediments, one of the environments in which methanotrophs can thrive. This sample came from the seafloor of Astoria Canyon off the coast of Oregon.Shelton Du Preez / Schmidt Ocean Institute

Definition: Wrapping up our fourth and final methane-based EarthWord for this cruise! We’ve spent the last several EarthWords talking about what makes the methane and how it gets into the environment, so now let’s talk about what eats the methane: methanotrophs. Also called methanophiles (methane lovers), these microbes can be either bacteria or archaea, which are single-celled organisms that used to be classified as bacteria, that rely on methane as their sole source of energy and food.

Etymology: Methanotroph is made up of two parts: methane and troph. Methane comes from the French word methylene, itself made up of the Greek word methy (wine) and hyle (wood). This is because methylene was detected in wood alcohol. The -troph ending, meanwhile, comes from the Greek word trophe, meaning “food or nourishment.”

[Read the rest of the post at https://schmidtocean.org/cruise-log-post/waterwords-of-the-day-methanotroph/ ]

June 24: Unexpected pathways

OSU/NOAA scientist Tamara Baumberger preps one of her gas tight sampler devices for deployment on ROV SuBastian. This device is designed to first capture bubbles from the methane seeps, then suck the bubbles into an airtight chamber. Shelton Du Preez / Schmidt Ocean Institute

“I never intended to be studying these cold seeps, but then I found the anomaly.” With those words, Oregon State University/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist Tamara Baumberger sets herself apart from the rest of our research crew here on R/V Falkor. Whereas most of us have been looking at methane seeps and the benthic communities that surround them for much of our careers, Tamara is a bit of a newcomer.

[read the rest of the post at https://schmidtocean.org/cruise-log-post/unexpected-pathways/ ]