The swells died away this morning and the science crew was thrilled to make it back in the water. As I type, lead scientist Rodrigo Moura is in the sphere and geologist Alex Bastos is in the back and they’re 800ft down on the south edge of the Abrolhos Platform. They’re exploring a steep sandy slope (like, 45 degrees steep) expecting sponges and fishes and collecting sediment samples for the geological context and to measure the quantity and origins of the organic matter, which is important to understand how much the ecosystem there relies on plankton above or on its own productivity at the bottom.
In the photo above, Jim “Sully” Sullivan sits at the Com-Track for the submersible, while Brazilian scientist Paulo Sumida (U. Sao Paulo) takes notes. Com-Track is a station on the bridge of the ship, where sub crew staff and scientists can track the position of the sub and communicate with the scientists onboard. Its not that straightforward, though, because there’s no cable to the JSL and radio and other EMF frequencies don’t travel through water. Instead, communication takes place embedded in acoustic signals, with limited voice coms and a system of “pings” to serve as acknowledgement/agreement. The whole shebang is tied into the GPS system for the ship, which is what made it possible for Bill Baxley to embed the sub track in his lovely 3D model. If all goes according to plan, I’ll send an update on what they find later today