Microbial Mud

Today started in the not so usual fashion. Rory woke up raring to go and headed to the gym. En route he pulled a muscle in his back and that pretty much ended his day at around 7am. We were going to go to a new dive spot where I heard that there was a pretty cool sediment feature to check out. The place is pretty close to station and called cinder cones.

Immediately upon entering the water I was blown away by the ice shapes. There was an incredible amount of ice algae providing a strange mix of colors and the sea ice cracks were spectacular.

The bottom of the sea ice with strange hues of green (ice algae) and blues (ice).

The real find was the wall of bacterial mat. The bacteria here uses sulfide (H2S) and mixes it with Oxygen to get energy. Its a chemosynthetic process so does not use the power of the sun.

The white in front is bacteria not ice. Its a thick mat of it and is an indication of interesting chemistry in the sediment below.

I now get to sort through the core to see what lives in it. I have high hopes as communities like this have been a focus of my research in the deep sea and I am excited to see what the cold microbial mats contain at a shallow 40ft.

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