2015 Expedition

COLD SEEPS in 60 Seconds | Nautilus Live

Cold Methane Seeps in the Gulf of Mexico

May 4, 2015 to May 8, 2015

On this leg of the expedition, we will return to cold methane seeps and brine pools investigated during the 2014 season to continue an examination of the symbiosis between the mussels that live at the seeps and the bacterial symbionts that they host. Previous work has shown that different species of Bathymodiolus mussels have different combinations of symbionts that allow them to survive under varied conditions at the seeps. The symbionts utilize hydrogen sulfide or methane. Sulfide-oxidizing symbionts use the energy from sulfide to grow using CO2 as their sole carbon source. In the case of methane-oxidizing symbionts, the methane is their carbon and energy source. We will collect the mussels and their surrounding water and sediment to characterize the microbial populations in each using next-generation sequencing technologies. 

In order to collect these samples, we will visit some of the most impressive cold seep habitats of the Gulf of Mexico: tubeworm fields, outcropping methane hydrate structures, and brine habitats. The brine is formed from the interaction of water with subsurface salt deposits. As the sediments are compressed, the brine fluid migrates up to the surface, where it comes out on the seafloor. It may form distinct pools, or flow downhill like a river. Because it is saturated in methane, and typically very low in oxygen, the symbiotic mussels are some of the only organisms that can survive around it. We hope to learn more about how they make a living there.

Meet the Team

Photo of Sulaiman Al'Sibani
Navigator
Photo of Rebecca  Ansorge
Science/Data
Photo of Steve Auscavitch
Science/Data, Data Manager
Photo of Caitlin Bailey
Video Intern
Photo of Iliana Baums
Science/Data
Photo of Mike Brennan
Expedition Leader
Photo of Erik Cordes
Science/Data
Photo of Alex DeCiccio
Communications/ Documentarian
Photo of Mark DeRoche
Deck Chief
Photo of Gregg Diffendale
Hercules Pilot
Photo of David Downing
Science Communication Fellow
Photo of Summer Farrell
Argus Pilot
Photo of Sarah Fuller
Science/Data, Data Manager
Photo of Fanny Girard
Science/Data
Photo of Thomas Lanagan
Argus Pilot
Photo of Niko Leisch
Science/Data
Photo of Catie Mitchell
Science/Data Team
Photo of Coral Moreno
Seafloor mapper, Navigation
Photo of Mary Nichols
Video Engineer
Photo of Jillian Petersen
Science/Data
Photo of Allan Santos
Video Engineer
Photo of Miles Saunders
Navigator
Photo of Will Sellers
Hercules Pilot
Photo of Brian Soash
Science Communication Fellow
Photo of Charles Vidoudez
Science/Data
Photo of Sam Vohsen
Science/Data
Photo of Robert Waters
Hercules Pilot
Photo of Silke Wetzel
Science/Data
Photo of Sarah Wilson
Science Communication Fellow
Photo of Regina Yopak
Navigator

Highlights

Video: Sharks Swarm ROV During Dive
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Sharks Swarm ROV During Dive
May 7, 2015
Video: Amazing Deep Water Corals
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Amazing Deep Water Corals
May 7, 2015
Video: Expedition Overview: Cold Seeps in 60 Seconds
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Expedition Overview: Cold Seeps in 60 Seconds
May 8, 2015
Video: "Chili Pepper" Siphonophore
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"Chili Pepper" Siphonophore
May 10, 2015
Video: Squid Stealing the Spotlight
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Squid Stealing the Spotlight
May 10, 2015
Video: Brine Pool Formation
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Brine Pool Formation
May 11, 2015
Album: Spectacular Underwater Brine Lake
 
Spectacular Underwater Brine Lake
17 photos
May 12, 2015
Video: Stunning Underwater Lake and Deep Sea Waves
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Stunning Underwater Lake and Deep Sea Waves
May 12, 2015
Album: Collecting and Processing: Where Do the Samples Go?
 
Collecting and Processing: Where Do the Samples Go?
20 photos
June 4, 2015
Video: Best of the E/V Nautilus 2015 Exploration Season
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Best of the E/V Nautilus 2015 Exploration Season
September 17, 2015