FeMO3 Dive Cruise 2008
Studying Fe-Oxidizing Microbes on Loihi Seamount -- JASON2 on the R/V Thomas G. Thompson -- TN225

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 18 -- 9 October 2008 -- Trekking 8,000 m with Jason Along the South Rift
Jason leaves the bottom at 10:30pm to reach the surface by midnight. The entire dive has explored over 8,000 meters of the South Rift. Though no hot vents or bacterial mats were found, microbiologists are still interested in the rock samples because they may harbor iron oxidizing microbes that are able to tunnel into the basalt seeking iron. Daily report ...
Day 17 -- 8 October 2008 -- Volcanic Glass Hunting on Dive J2-374
The heavy bottom mapping sonar was removed to give more lifting capacity to Jason for bringing rock samples to the surface. The goal of the new dive (J2-374) is to document rifting and lava flows along the South Rift and collect rock samples that might provide clues to where in the Earth the basalt came from. Daily report ...
Day 16 -- 7 October 2008 -- Engines, Propulsion, Electrical Generation, Water Making and More
Much oceanographic work is done with the ship attempting to stay over a particular patch of the bottom of the ocean so that instruments and tools (such as Jason and Medea) can be lowered to a particular spot. The ship's computer gets a GPS satellite signal and then rotates the propeller drives to keep the ship in that position. This is called Dynamic Positioning. Daily report ...

All Snapshots  |  All Daily Reports by Shawn Doan
How Many Microbes Fit in one of Loihi's Microbial Mats?
Looking at the mat on top of the experiment some of the scientist began to contemplate the number of microbes in the mat that had formed on the top. We estimated there are more microbes in the mat on top of the microbe trap, than people living in the United States. An estimate shows us that 10,000,000 times more microbes live at Loihi than people on this Earth. Read this story by Post-Doc Emily Fleming ...

Q/A Based on Skype Sessions with Sehome High School Biology Classes (extended version)
Mr. Shawn Doan, science teacher at Sehome High School in Bellingham (Washington), gives answers to a selection of questions asked by his students during a number of Skype video conferences between him on the R/V Thompson and his students on land. Read this contribution by Shawn Doan ...

Colonization of Microbial Mats by Different Types of Chemosynthetic Bacteria
Colonizing bacteria are able to gain their energy from inorganic compounds, making them what we call chemotrophs. As these compounds are derived from geologic sources (rocks) we also call them lithotrophs, and because they are able to make their own organic carbon compounds from carbon dioxide, we also call them autotrophs. Since chemo-litho-autotrophs is a pretty long name, we refer to these bacteria as chemosynthetic instead. Read further in this report by Chief Scientist Craig Moyer ...

Deep Sea Volcanic Gases
What is a geochemist like me doing on a ship with a whole bunch of biologists? And why would a geochemist be interested in lava flows on the ocean floor? And why Loihi? Find out in this report by Mark Kurz ...

Orders of Magnitudes and Banded Iron Formations
The iron that makes our research vessel the R/V Thompson is made of, may have, at one time, been food for bacteria like the ones we are hunting today at Loihi. Follow Dr. Emerson's pondering about the scale of bacteria and life, the formation of banded iron sediments and the role of Iron-oxide bacteria in all this. Read this report by Dave Emerson ...

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 is involved in forming the helical twisted filaments or stalks. But what are the tubular and Y-shaped structures? Read this report by Dave Emerson ...

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FeMO 2006
R/V Melville

FeMO 2007
R/V Kilo Moana

FeMO 2008
R/V Thompson

FeMO 2009
R/V Kilo Moana
JASON Dive J2-373 Image Gallery
Another mopping up dive, this time on Loihi's summit. It starts out at Marker 57 at the Pohaku Vents. Then the Jason visits Hiolo, the West Pit rim and ends at Pisces Peak where the elevator awaits to offload Jason's acquired payload. 

JASON Dive J2-372 Image Gallery
This is the mopping up dive on Ula Nui at FeMO Deep. The last experiments are retrieved for this year and we do another photo mosaic. The transponders are retrieved as soon as the Jason and Medea have left the Pacific and onboard the R/V Thompson. 

Day 18 Image Gallery
Samples are piling up as is the amount of data, DVD's with Jason video and other imagery. All in all the amount of science being carried by 20+ scientists is overwhelming, so a good time to enjoy another beautiful sunset.

JASON Dive J2-371 Image Gallery
In this dive we use SM2000 across the Hiolo and Tower Vents area in Pele's Pit in order to map the region north of M36 and south of M34. If time permits, we might expand to the area around Jet Vents (M10/11) up to Lohiau (M2/5). Finally, we will start to make a photo mosaic with the bottom-aimed camera to better document the M36/39, M34/38 and M31/48 areas. 

Day 17 Image Gallery
The deep sea elevator was released from the bottom and arrived at the surface shortly after breakfast. Jason was on deck a short time later and there was a scurry of activity to collect and process bacterial, water and rock samples from Pele’s Pit.

JASON Dive J2-369 Image Gallery
This dive is devoted to finding "old" Marker 2007 established during a previous Pisces dive. Rock samples are taken and many biological experiments are planted until FeMO2009. SM2000 mapping is planned and this dive ends at Pisces Peak. 

Day 16 Image Gallery
Several student questions inspired me to ask Terry Anderson, the Chief Engineer on the R/V Thompson, for a tour of the engineering spaces. As most other research ships the Thompson has a dynamic positioning ability, which requires a special set of hardware, very different from the typical propellers and rudders.

All Daily Galleries  |  All JASON Dive Galleries
We are pitching and rolling to bring you the latest news from Loihi
Shawn Doan and Anthony Koppers are riding the waves of the Pacific for the second time to bring you the latest research surfacing during the third FeMO seagoing expedition to the active vents on Loihi volcano. Stay tuned for daily image and video galleries, interviews and reports from our adventures on board the R/V Thomas G. Thompson and the exciting research carried out on the youngest Hawaiian volcano forming just 960 meter below the sea surface and 19 miles to the southeast of the Big Island.