Cayman Hydrothermal Vents

I have taken part in five research cruises to the Mid-Cayman Spreading Centre:

JC44

Location: Mid-Cayman Sprending Centre, Caribbean Sea

Date: April 2010

Ship: RRS James Cook

This was my first research cruise! For 32-days, we explored the Mid-Cayman Spreading Centre in search of chemosynthetic habitats using a CTD, the AUV Autosub6000, and a tethered vehicle, HyBIS. The world’s deepest hydrothermal vent field, Beebe Vent Field, was discovered (4960m), as well as a shallower vent field, Von Damm Vent Field (2300m). There were multitudes of new species observed at both vents sites.


EX1104

Location: Mid-Cayman Sprending Centre, Caribbean Sea

Date: August 2011

Ship: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer 

This cruise was unique in that only two scientists were on the ship. All other scientists (myself included) participated via telepresence from an Exploration Command Centre at the Inner Space Centre at the University of Rhode Island. You can find out more about this expedition here.


D374

Location: Mid-Cayman Sprending Centre, Caribbean Sea

Date: March 2012

Ship: RRS Discovery

A 5-day research cruise to recover two moorings with organic-fall (whale bone and wood) experiments and oceanographic instruments deployed in 2010 at the Beebe Vent Field and the Von Damm Vent Field.


JC82

Location: Mid-Cayman Sprending Centre, Caribbean Sea

Date: March 2013

Ship: RRS James Cook

A 21-day research cruise that characterised the biology, geology, and chemistry of the Beebe and Von Damm hydrothermal vents discovered in 2010 using a CTD and the ROV Isis. During this expedition, we also spontaneously deployed two pig carcasses, Petunia and Princess, to see what animals they would attract. You can find out more about this cruise here.


YK13-05

Location: Mid-Cayman Sprending Centre, Caribbean Sea

Date: June 2013

Ship: R/V Yokosuka

Three UK scientists took part in this 17-day cruise led by Professor Ken Takai of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). JAMSTEC scientists were investigating the Beebe and Von Damm vents with the Shinkai6500 manned submersible as part of the Quest for the Limit of Life 2013 (QUELLE) program. I had my first submersible dive to 2400m in the Shinkai6500 at the Von Damm Vent Field. We also recovered the bones of Petunia the pig (deployed on JC82). Below is a video made by Dr. Jon Copley featuring all three dives by British scientists during this expedition.