Towards the end of 2018, the lab became very busy developing and implementing a new study supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Biological Technology Office. The goal of this work is to use microbiomes to tell us about the history and present of human structures on the seafloor. The project came up fast, and in August and September, all hands in the Hamdan Lab, some extra hands from the School of Ocean Science and Engineering, and some more hands from our collaborators at the MMRI at University of Mississippi worked together to design, build and test seafloor landers and experimental arrays to collect biofilms. We benefited from the support and advice of the crew of R/V Point Sur (University of Southern Mississippi’s ship), and worked closely with ocean engineers who helped us integrate our experiments with the remotely operated vehicle Odysseus (Pelagic Research Systems, Inc), which ultimately drove our experiments to depths up to 2000m deep, and placed them exactly where they needed to be to accomplish our goals. Then, in December, we went back out in the Gulf of Mexico on R/V Point Sur, and called all eight of our experiments home.
This work was incredibly hands on, extremely tiring, and required all of our imagination and “make it work” skills. It was also a huge amount of fun. You can see it on our faces in the photo albums posted below. These are long overdue, and we hope you enjoy seeing the many perspectives of marine microbial ecology and ocean engineering happening here, and appreciate the happy, smiling, science we accomplished together.
Flickr Photo Albums from 2018
September ROV Cruise https://flic.kr/s/aHskNcFvZ8
December cruise – recovering experiments https://flic.kr/s/aHsmAkHwBh
ROV stills of the Alcoa Puritan shipwreck https://www.flickr.com/gp/87030063@N08/6QP9ey