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Susan Humphris and Tim Shank.

Susan Humphris and Tim Shank.
Susan Humphris and Tim Shank.
Susan Humphris and Tim Shank.
Susan Humphris and Tim Shank.
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Linder, Christopher
Susan Humphris and Tim Shank.
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WHOI scientists Susan Humphris and Tim Shank retrieve samples of Arctic Ocean seafloor mud snatched by Camper's grab sampler. The mud grab was mostly to test the sampler, but it provided a rare and hard-won sample for Elisabeth Helmke, a microbiologist from Alfred-Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany, who will examine if the mud harbors any microbial life.
Caption from Oceanus magazine, Vol. 46, No. 2, Pg. 27:
In the end, researchers spent the same amount of time aboard Oden as Noah spent on his ark: 40 days and nights (well, make that 40 days and no nights, MIT-WHOI graduate student Clay Kunz pointed out). The researchers did not find hydrothermal vents, but they did discover curious mats of yellowy-orange “fluff”— composed of microbes and/or material made by microbes, perhaps fed by a weak flow of chemical-rich fluids seeping out of the seafloor. A mosaic of images taken by Camper’s cameras shows yellow microbial mats lining the cracks between seafloor rocks. Camper also captured seafloor samples that scientists eagerly sought to analyze back in onshore labs. WHOI geochemist Susan Humphris and WHOI biologist Tim Shank (shown here) examine samples that just arrived on deck from the seafloor. Microbiologist Elisabeth Helmke from the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany scrapes orange deposits from a Gakkel Ridge rock snatched up by Camper’s grabber. A glass beaker holds orange microbial material slurped up by Camper’s vacuum sampler, as well as tiny black shards of volcanic glass that covered large areas of the Gakkel Ridge seafloor. Chemical analyses of these may provide evidence of unusually explosive seafloor volcanism, which is rare under the tremendous pressure more than 2.5 miles below the ocean surface.
Photo by Chris Linder
© Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
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