Nature Blog Network

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mussel Mysteries

For those who just can't get enough of me, there is a photo story of some of mine and my colleagues work at the newly redesigned and oh so chic Venture Deep Ocean site. Clicking each photo gives you a description with it. There is also a page about our expeditions to the hydrothermal vents at the East-Lau Spreading Center. I am, of course, listed under the heading "Hot People" on the sidebar to the right...

About Venture Deep Ocean:

Venture Deep Ocean highlights some of the latest discoveries about seafloor volcanoes and vents, and how they create environments for extraordinary lifeforms.

Understanding what forces shape the ocean floor helps us understand the history of our planet, and predict its future. Researching how volcanic activity affects the chemical make-up of our oceans can help predict how the oceans will respond to climate change. Studying how creatures survive in the extreme conditions of the deep ocean may help to make medical and technological advances, or to locate life on other planets.


  1. That instrument you are calibrating isn't going to sit on the bottom of the sea just like that, is it? The caption implies that, but I am assuming it will be in a protected casing of some sort.

  2. LOL yes it does imply that. What I am doing is calibrating a thermistor array. The large machine is just a water bath where I adjust the temperature a few degrees every half hour, wait for it to equilibrate and take a reading from an accurate thermometer. Simultaneously the thermistor is logging the temperature (as voltage). After I get to the maximum temperature that I want to calibrate the thermistor for, I convert voltage to temperture and compare the thermistor's readings to the thermometer so I know if I have any bad leads or inaccurate ones. We then leave them on the bottom of the ocean and stick the the array (there are 8 leads per thermistor) near an area of diffuse venting (up to 45C or so) for a year or more. It is powered by a large lithium battery and can be programmed to take measurements at X intervals for about a year and a half depending on what you set the interval too. The computer components and battery are housed in pressure-tested housing. Occasionally there is flooding but we have still been able to recover data.


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