FeMO2 Dive Cruise 2007
Studying Fe-Oxidizing Microbes on Loihi Seamount -- JASON2 on the R/V Kilo Moana -- KM0719

Did you know that the Earth rusts? And that that can be a good thing for bacteria which may actually grow by the same chemical reactions? The Iron-Oxidizing Microbial Observatory (FeMO) uses the Loihi Seamount as a natural laboratory for studies of Earth's rust-forming microbial inhabitants to address the basic questions of who they are, how fast do they grow and form rust, where and why do they do it, and what are their environmental impacts? Read more ...
Day 12 -- 22 October 2007 -- Some Ongoing FeMO Research Projects 
Carbon fixation experiments with C13 and C14 are carried out to figure out how much of the inorganic carbon is converted into organic molecules by Lo'ihi microbes. Other experiments address questions about nitrogen metabolism in the deep sea, using microbe incubations spiked with N15, a stable isotope of nitrogen. Finally, culturing and genetic DNA analyses are carried out to decipher the structure of the community building the microbial mats. Daily report ...
Day 11 -- 21 October 2007 -- On the Remotely Operated Vehicle JASON II 
Jason is a type of submersible called a Remotely Operated Vehicle or ROV. It's not a true submarine because it is not manned, and it is not a true robot because it is attached to the ship via a tether. Jason's longest dives have been more than 4 days or 96 hours long. Daily report ...
Day 10 -- 20 October 2007 -- Moon Mats and Tripods 
After sampling at Ula Nui, Jason is directed to explore to the east. A huge mat is discovered with mounds 2 or 3 meters tall and pock marked with small craters. It reminds somebody of the surface of the moon and it is named the "Moon Mat". Daily report ...
Day 09 -- 19 October 2007 -- A Lonely Anglerfish 
Shortly after Jason reaches the bottom a round gray fish is found sitting on the seafloor. It looks similar to a puffer fish in shape but has an enormous mouth with thick fish lips and a head so round that the eyes face forward. It seems Angelina Jolie's look-a-like. Daily report ...
Day 08 -- 18 October 2007 -- The Geology of Loihi 
Lo'ihi is a hotspot volcano like all the volcanoes of the Hawaiian chain. It is located about 35 km (20 miles) south of the big island and it probably started erupting through the ocean crust about 400,000 years ago. Eventually the movement of the Pacific plate will carry Mauna Loa away from the Hawaiian hotspot and its source of lava. Lo'ihi will then likely become the most vigorous volcano of the Hawaiian chain growing to rival Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea in size. Daily report ...
Day 07 -- 17 October 2007 -- Scientists Swap 
This morning we leave station to sail to Kona on the southwest side of the big island to exchange scientists. Two enormous cruise ships are laying offshore Kona. Alexis, Brad, Don and In Chieh go ashore in two trips and are replaced by Amanda, Dave, Katrina, Lisa and Roman. Once everyone is aboard, the Kilo Moana turns toward South Point for our return to Lo'ihi. Daily report ...
Day 06 -- 16 October 2007 -- Pit of Death! 
Craig Moyer tells me about diving into the Pit of Depth in the 3 man submersible Pisces 5. As Pisces descended into the pit the scientists looked out the thick acrylic windows of Pisces to see a layer of white microbial mat floating a meter or two above the bottom of the pit. The water, like all hot-spring water, contained no dissolved oxygen so fish wandering into it suffocated. Daily report ...
Day 05 -- 15 October 2007 -- It is All About Iron Loving Microbes 
FeMO researchers do care a lot about microbes that are chemoautotrophs or chemosynthesizers, that is, these microbes make their own food using chemical energy, iron in this case. Daily report ...
Day 04 -- 14 October 2007 -- Diving into Pele's Pit
Jason's dive began about 4 am in Pele's Pit. Pele is the Hawaiian volcano goddess and the images captured by Jason's cameras show the orange colored rocks and shimmering hot water that reveal the volcanic nature of Loihi. The pit is the summit caldera of Loihi. Daily report ...
Day 03 -- 13 October 2007 -- Jason, Medea and the Golden Fleece
Jason and Medea had been put in the water shortly after midnight. Medea is a second smaller robot that hangs on the cable between Jason and the ship. In mythology Medea is Jasons's wife and though her magic helps Jason get the Golden Fleece. Medea's purpose for robot Jason is to isolate Jason from the heave of the ship. She also has a camera and thrusters so that she can move if the cable gets too close to Jason or his work area. Daily report ...
Day 02 -- 12 October 2007 -- Probing Ula Nui with the CTD
After mapping out Loihi seamount using the multibeam sonar system, we stop over a site on the lower southern edge of Loihi. This site is called Ula Nui and is about 5 km deep. Transponders are placed for later navigational use by the Jason ROV and preparations are well on their way for the first CTD cast. Daily report ...
Day 01 -- 11 October 2007 -- Finding FeMO
We get under way about noon and head out through the channel leaving Honolulu harbor. The captain announces that a small pod of dolphins has joined us and are playing on the bow. We head southeast from Honolulu and watch Molokai, Lanai and Maui pass off our port side. We are on our way to find FeMO on Loihi Seamount. Daily report ...
Day 00 -- 9 and 10 October 2007 -- Getting Ready in Honolulu
Scientists, technicians and students arrive in Honolulu and begin loading supplies, equipment and personal effects onto the Kilo Moana. Their goal: researching the biological mats and hydrothermal vents of Loihi Seamount, an underwater volcano regarded as the leading edge of the Hawaiian hotspot. Daily report ...

All Snapshots  |  All Daily Reports by Shawn Doan
Deep Sea Bacteria Spin Rust and Eat Nails for a Living
The microbial mats at Loihi can be thought of as a giant fabric woven together by the microorganisms that grow there. It is the bacteria that are responsible for spinning the iron oxides into the filaments or threads that create the larger mat fabric. What is remarkable is that this ‘yarn’ is composed mainly of rust, which is what most of us think of when we see oxidized iron. So far, we have only identified one bacterium that we are sure is involved in forming the helical twisted filaments or stalks. But what about the tubular and Y-shaped structures? Read this preliminary science report by Dave Emerson ...

My First Time at Sea 1
Even though I worked with the Navy for a couple of years, I never got to go out on a submarine or carrier, so the FeMO2007 cruise was my first time out at sea. My first couple of days were spent mainly trying not to be seasick, with amounts of work interspersed in between. The hydrothermal vents, chimlets, pillows, and mats at the bottom were amazing to see. Read this report by Graduate Student En Chieh Chen ...

In Situ Electrochemistry at Loihi and the AIS ISEA™ III
The purpose of the ISEA (In-Situ Electrochemical Analyzer) is to be able to describe chemically the environmental habitat of micro and mega fauna at the bottom of the ocean. The instrument can also be used to investigate diffuse and hydrothermal vent sites to aid geochemists in characterizing these very different underwater environments. Read this explanation on Electrochemistry by Don Nuzzio ...

Dr. Suz's FeMO Cruise Blog
Microbiologist and post-doc Suzanna Brauer has been cooking up bacterial media by the gallons down in the hydro lab of the R/V Kilo Moana. This soupy brew she will use to let Fe- and Mn-loving bacteria from Loihi Seamount grow and multiply so she can study them in her laboratory back home in Portland, Oregon. Follow Dr. Suz's adventures in this special FeMO blog ...

FeMO in the classroom through SERC!
FeMO collaborator and high school teacher Shawn Doan is helping out not only with disseminating FeMO results to a broad high school audience through the FeMO website. He is also part of an emerging collaboration between ERESE and the pedagogic services of the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College. Check out his lesson plan on teaching the carbon cycle with a consideration of chemosynthesis ...

My First Time at Sea 2
Back in Colorado I have been working on hydrogen generation experiments to optimize the production of H2 from the interaction of rocks, minerals and metals with water in a way that it can be used to culture micro-organisms. These serpentinization reactions result in the production of H2 gas and often takes place deep within the Earth's crust and maybe even within the crust of Mars. The gasses released from this reaction can percolate through the crust and be vented at the Earth's surface, often at the bottom of the sea. The active vents on Loihi are an excellent place to look for micro-organisms that may be able to harness the energy available from these reactions. Read this short report by Graduate Student Lisa Mayhew ...

An Opportunity to Link Chemistry and Microbiology at Marker 39
M39 seems to be one small area where you can observe a snapshot of how dynamic the entire area of Pele's Pit can be. Essentially there are Fe-rich areas, sulfide-rich areas, hot fluids, cold fluids, and visible differences in the structure of the microbial mats. It looks like this is an excellent place to explore fundamental questions about how the chemistry of this system defines who (microbiologically) is present and active. Read this short report by Alexis Templeton ...

FeMO 2006
R/V Melville

FeMO 2007
R/V Kilo Moana

FeMO 2008
R/V Thompson

FeMO 2009
R/V Kilo Moana
JASON Dive J2-307 Video Gallery
The first videos have been processed by carefully selecting the best possible video clips out of hours of digital video. More videos are to come ...

JASON Dive J2-308 Video Gallery
The J2-308 was the longest dive of the FeMO2007 cruise, including the entire spectrum of samplings and experiments. Click here to find 20 video excerpts depicting our actions in Pele's Pit.

View All Videos
Day 12 Image Gallery
The days go on one-after-the-other in our 24/7 operation onboard the R/V Kilo Moana. The advantage of that is of course that you also get to witness the most spectacular sunrises.

JASON Dive J2-311 Image Gallery
Often new interesting features get discovered with active venting. During dive J2-311 we found an interesting black spot dubbed the "crop circle" with increased temperature readings in its core.

Day 11 Image Gallery
The many fridges and lab spaces on the 01 deck of the Kilo Moana now contain hundreds of valuable scientific samples, all in different stages of processing.

Day 10 Image Gallery
Let us take you on a tour into the bowls of the R/V Kilo Moana. Also some of the scientific crew are auditioning to become the next generation of Jason pilots.

Day 09 Image Gallery
Another elevator recovery was made today. Many scoop and rock samples and the new ISEA-lander were recovered using the elevator. The sea remains calm, as it has been for the last week, making for an easy and fast recovery of the elevator.

JASON Dive J2-309 Image Gallery
Back again to Ula Nui today. Abundant scooping of microbial mats was done, suction cylinders were filled up with the same fine bacterial mats and many rocks samples were taken.

JASON Dive J2-308 Image Gallery
The elevator was deployed to achieve a larger payload while exploring Pele's Pit in our second Jason dive. In total the Jason dive lasted for about 28 hours.

JASON Dive J2-307 Image Gallery
View more than 40 still camera pictures taken with the JASON science camera documenting the surveying, recovery of instruments and sampling during our first dive to Ula Nui 1 and Ula Nui 2.

All Daily Galleries  |  All JASON Dive Galleries
Who's in the driving seat? Most likely the captain, but Hubert Staudigel, Shawn Doan and Anthony Koppers are steering hard to bring you our findings from onboard the R/V Kilo Moana. Stay tuned for daily image galleries, reports and video clips from ten Jason submersible dives to the craters of Loihi, the youngest Hawaiian volcano forming about 960 meter below the sea surface and 19 miles to the southeast of the Big Island. Follow a large group of FeMO scientists as they carry out their state-of-the-art biological experiments and collect new data on the microbial life which has established itself on this special underwater volcano.