Cayman Hydrothermal Vents

I have taken part in five expeditions to the Cayman Trench in search of hydrothermal vents:

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 focused on exploring the Mid-Cayman Spreading Centre in search of chemosynthetic habitats. The world’s deepest hydrothermal vent field, Beebe Vent Field, was discovered during this cruise (4960m), as well as a shallower vent field, Von Damm Vent Field (2300m). There were also multitudes of new species observed at these new vents sites. This cruise involved the use of a CTD, the AUV Autosub6000 and a tethered vehicle, HyBIS. Below is a video made by Dr. Jon Copley on the vent fields discovered during JC44.


EX1104

Location: Mid-Cayman Sprending Centre, Caribbean Sea

Date: August 2011

Ship: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Okeanos Explorer 

This cruise was unique in that only two scientists went out on the ship. All of the other scientists (including myself) participated via telepresence from the 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 that recovered 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 returned to characterise the biology, geology and chemistry of the Beebe and Von Damm hydrothermal vents discovered in 2010. During this expedition, we also spontaneously deployed two pig carcasses, Petunia and Princess, to see what animals they would attract. This involved the use of a CTD and the ROV Isis. You can find out more about this cruise here. The below video, made by Dr. Adrian Glover, also shows the vent fields and the amazing animals that live there.


YK13-05

Location: Mid-Cayman Sprending Centre, Caribbean Sea

Date: June 2013

Ship: R/V Yokosuka

Three British scientists were invited on 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.

This was one of the best cruises I have ever taken part in; namely for the cultural experience, the hospitality by the Japanese scientists, and I GOT TO DIVE IN SHINKAI6500 TO THE VON DAMM VENTS AT 2400M DEPTH. I recovered the bones of Petunia the pig (deployed on JC82) during my dive.

Below is a video made by Dr. Jon Copley featuring all three dives by British scientists during this expedition.

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