FeMO4 Dive Cruise 2009
Studying Fe-Oxidizing Microbes on Loihi Seamount -- JASON2 on the R/V Kilo Moana -- KM0923

Welcome to the FeMO 4 Dive Cruise 2009 website. What is FeMO you ask? Fe is the chemical symbol for the element “iron”. MO stands for Microbial Observatory. FeMO is a project funded by the National Science Foundation to study how microbes build biomass by oxidizing iron as a source of energy. By oxidizing the iron, they turn it into rust. FeMO scientists study the microbial iron oxidation that is occurring on Lo'ihi seamount. Lo'ihi is an actively forming volcano with iron-rich fluids and rocks. It is built under water on the southern flank of the big island of Hawaii. Lo'ihi’s summit is about 1,000 meters below sea level and it reaches down to about 5000m water depth. Scientists believe that 20,000-100,000 years from now Lo'ihi will break through the ocean surface and become the newest Hawaiian island. So, why would scientists want to study microbial iron oxidation on a newly forming volcano thousands of meters under the ocean? Well, Lo'ihi’s hydrothermal vents are rich in reduced iron, not hydrogen sulfide, like many deep sea hydrothermal vents. Seawater in the summit regions is low in oxygen leading to a slow rate of iron oxidation. Why investigate iron? Iron is an energy source for specific groups of organisms called chemolithoautotrophs. Chemo, because they use chemical energy as opposed to light energy; litho, because they use an energy source from rock (e.g. iron or sulfur), as opposed to organic energy source (e.g. glucose); auto because they can fix carbon dioxide like plants, and troph refers to energy sources. They are the primary producers of organic carbon in the deep ocean. Most organisms use organic carbon to sustain life. So, follow our expedition by reading the daily reports and watching for newly posted photos. You can also ask questions of our scientists by reading our FeMO Cruise 2009 blog.
Day 17 -- 17 October 2009 -- Returning to port
Accomplishments abound! We have been out to sea for 18 days – a total of 408 hours. Jason went on eleven dives for a total of 174 hours – which means 174 hours of monitor time for the Jason pilots, crew, and scientists. In addition, our scientists spent 37 hours monitoring CTD hydrocasts, and 28 hours surveying the seafloor surveys and setting the transponders. Daily report ...
Day 16 -- 16 October 2009 -- What’s cooking in the Galley?
I’m on watch again from midnight to 4:00 am. About halfway through the dive Jason is 1,116 meters below the surface and a big white octopus swims by - flapping its wings. Wings?!? It actually has two big, rounded wings! Emily tells me it’s called a Dumbo octopus because of its wings. I watch it swim by the camera in awe. We follow it with the Jason cameras until it swims out of view. Daily report ...
Day 15 -- 15 October 2009 -- What’s in your freezer?
The labs are bustling with movement and eagerness to wrap up loose ends. The scientists are busy preserving and packing up their samples and specimens. I see boxes, pails, coolers, and plastic containers of every shape and form strewn in every corner of the labs. Daily report ...

All Snapshots  |  All Daily Reports by Lisa Kohne

FeMO 2006
R/V Melville

FeMO 2007
R/V Kilo Moana

FeMO 2008
R/V Thompson

FeMO 2009
R/V Kilo Moana
Exciting expedition! Exciting, cutting-edge research on the youngest Hawaiian volcano!
Lisa Kohne is excited to bring you the latest news from the 2009 FeMO expedition to Lo’ihi seamount in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. We’ll be visiting Pele’s Pit, FeMO deep, and other mysterious places deep below the ocean surface. Stay tuned for daily snapshots, video galleries, and interviews with our scientists, Jason crew, and the crew of the R/V Kilo Moana. Join us to discover the exciting research being conducted on the youngest Hawaiian volcano forming almost 3,000 feet below the ocean surface!