Over the last two weeks, the Vent & Seep project has participated in the annual cruise of the Centre for Deep Sea Research, along with other projects like Eco-Safe Ridge Mining and DeepSeaQuence. This year, the cruise visited 4 vent fields – Ægirs Kilde, Fåvne, Mohns Treasure and Loki’s Castle – and the main aim for the Vent & Seep project was to collect samples from the various vent fields to get material for faunal inventories and DNA barcoding.
We were very fortunate to of have Dr Nadia Rimskaya-Korsakova with us in the fauna lab, who specializes in the morphology of siboglinid tubeworms. We kept her very busy with the various siboglinids we collected, and we are looking forward to seeing her future work on the material from the cruise! She was also a great help with the general sample processing, always making sure that all the samples were happy and sufficiently cooled while waiting to be processed.
We also had the pleasure of having two master students with us – Marte and Haakon – who are both writing their master thesis as part of the Vent & Seep project. Marte is going to study the fauna of arctic cold seeps in collaboration with the AKMA project, and she will investigate the degree of overlap between vent and seep fauna in the arctic region. Haakon is going to study fish from the Arctic Mid Ocean Ridge, using both sampled specimens and image analysis, to try to answer if certain fish species are more associated with the vent fields.
Having Marte and Haakon in the lab was a great resource, and it was fun to see how fast they learned the skills of sieving samples with a careful hand, spotting small animals, and writing precise labels and sample protocols. But the best thing about having them in the lab was their endless good mood, sense of humor and impeccable taste in music.
It has been a truly enjoyable cruise with a great team of scientists working together to make the best of the time we have at sea. We are very grateful to have been part of it and look forward to next time!