Once a dive wraps up, the wetlab is a hub of activity. All of the samples have to removed from the ROV sample boxes and properly processed, and the clock is ticking - there is a limited amount of time that biological samples can be preserved in such a way that they will be useful to scientists in the future. A certain amount of analysis of the samples happens on board, but most of the heavy work occurs later in one of several labs to whom we ship the samples once we arrive on shore.
The deep waters around and off the coasts of the Belizean cayes and atolls are among the least studied areas of the Caribbean Sea. The 2014 Nautilus cruise to the western Caribbean will conduct seafloor mapping and ROV exploration of the areas around and offshore the cayes and atolls of the Belize Barrier Reef, including potential mud volcanoes off Turneffe and Lighthouse atolls. Additionally, archaeological survey will be conducted with side-scan sonar and ROVs in areas of historical importance around the Belizean cayes.