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Tools and Technology

Here are some images and descriptions of the major tools used by the scientists on the NeMO research expeditions:

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with Alvin
R/V Atlantis Operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the Atlantis is 274 feet in length, has a 60 day range and is able to carry 59 crew and science members. Atlantis is also the home of the submersible Alvin.
image of CTD instrument
CTD. Conductivity, temperature and depth recorder (CTD) are used to
map out the plumes generated from the discharge of the hydrothermal vents. The CTD instrument is cast up & down or towed from the ship.
image of ROPOS being launched from ship
ROPOS. A remotely operated vehicle used at NeMO. ROPOS descends to the seafloor on a fiber optic cable from the ship. ROPOS has two manipulator arms, video cameras and lights, and many different samplers and instruments.
image of scientists working on vent fluid sampler in the lab
Vent fluid sampler. This is a specially designed instrument that mounts on the bottom of ROPOS for taking samples of high- and low-temperature hydrothermal vent fluids. It can also take filtered samples and gas-tight samples for laboratory analysis.
image of suction sampler underwater
Suction sampler. This is a versatile sampler which is mounted on ROPOS, and is somewhat like a vacuum cleaner. It can sample fluids, sediment, and small animals in up to eight discrete two liter sample bottles.
image of OSMO samplers at a vent
OSMO sampler. This osmotic fluid sampler (developed by MBARI) is for long-term sampling of vent fluids, for example over a full year between visits by ROPOS. It consists of an osmotic pump connected to a very long piece of small-bore sample tubing.
image of BPR
Bottom Pressure Recorder (BPR) The BPR measures pressure which can be easily converted to depth measurements. The BPR data will be transmitted to a surface buoy and monitored daily via satellite communications as part of NeMO Net.
image of Rumbleometer Rumbleometer (or VSM). This is a multi-sensor seafloor instrument designed for in-situ monitoring of deep sea volcanic activity. This one got stuck in the 1998 lava flow and had to be rescued, but it survived and recorded some fascinating data (see The rumbleometer story for more details).
image of tubeworms in bio-box
Bio-box. This is a hydraulically-actuated Lexan box mounted on the front of ROPOS mainly for biological sample storage and transport, but also a convenient place to put other instruments and samples.
image of bacterial traps
Bacterial traps. These containers are microbial colonization chambers so that microbes that produce mats on the seafloor can be sampled. The traps are filled with glass-wool (as a substrate) and allow microbes to enter but keep other grazing predators out.
image of time-lapse camera
Time-lapse camera. This camera has been deployed repeatedly at Marker 33 to document biological colonization at the site in between the annual site visits with ROPOS.
image of elevator mooring underwater
Elevator mooring. This device is used to transport samples and equipment from the seafloor to the surface (or visa versa), without requiring ROPOS to leave the bottom during a dive.
image of NeMONet mooring being deployed
NeMO Net. This is a state-of-the-art engineering system that allows scientist in the lab to communicate with instruments on the seafloor. An acoustic modem links seafloor instruments to a surface buoy and then data is relayed to shore by satellite.
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