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Understanding the Gulf Environment: Adam Rok’s Research Expedition

This fall I participated in a gulf research cruise as part of the ECOGIG Gulf Ecosystem Research Project. This Mooring and Lander cruise was conducted in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 130 – 150 miles offshore at station OC26 (in the middle of the Gulf).  For this particular cruise we were on the Point Sur (name of the ship).  We went out to recover 2 Mini-Landers that were put out by fellow researchers including Marine Sciences student Tim Wahl during the previous cruise.  A Lander is a frame or platform designed to sit on the ocean floor and holds instruments used in the collection of data or samples.  Once on deck the Landers had their memory cards swapped (to collect the data), batteries switched out, and reprogrammed for their next deployment.  This work took a couple of hours, but once it was all done the Landers were deployed back on site and will be recovered in early December.  A third Lander was produced after the last cruise and so we were able to deploy a total of 3 Mini-Landers during this mission. For a day-by-day log of shipboard activities during the trip visit the expedition page.

The whole idea behind this project is to gain a better understanding of the Gulf environment and awareness of what affect the temporal variation of methane has on this environment.  The Landers record methane and oxygen levels, temperature and current speeds. We use these measurements to try to create a picture of what influences these changes and to see if we can track oil/methane from a oil spill or well head blowout.

Adam Rok is a UNC Marine Sciences graduate student and member of the Martens Lab
(Adam’s focus is on Marine Biogeochemistry and how systems interact with each other)

Photos provided courtesy of Adam Rok

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For more photos visit ECOGIG’s photo album on Facebook.


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