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Discovery of a New Deep Chemosynthetic Community

May 9, 2013

Deepwater Canyons

by the Deepwater Canyons Project Science Team

After several days of lost dives due to bad weather, and making dives under difficult conditions, we are today in calm seas exploring an area that was discovered last year during a NOAA mapping cruise.  While conducting a seafloor survey, the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer found bubbles coming from the seafloor at a site south and offshore of Norfolk Canyon; they thought these bubbles might indicate a new methane seep site, but they had no way of verifying this idea.  Today we deployed the ROV JASON to 1600 m (nearly a mile deep- our deepest dive yet!) to explore the area around those bubbles. After transecting over soft sediment for a short time, we saw some indications that we were getting close to a probable methane seep; these included white patches of bacteria on the sediment surface that feed on the methane and…

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