Sunday 13th June 2010

It is halfway through the cruise now. Today we deployed the ROV in an attempt to find a whale bone drop, however this was unsuccessful and the ROV was returned to the ship. This was disappointing as it would have been possible for me to get samples of microbial biofilms from the whale bone drop. I am on the cruise in order to isolate bacterial strains from sediment and also sponge samples which are collected from the Ridge, I have also started to collect various sponges which I will analyse for secondary metabolite production. There have been a number of mega-cores which have now given a good amount of both bacterial and fungal groups to analyse on my return to land. This should give an indication of the level of diversity of both bacteria and fungi for the Mid Atlantic Ridge and may also lead to finding new bacterial or fungal species. The second area of research is the isolation and testing of bioactive secondary metabolites which may be produced by the marine species which I isolate in the trip for their potential to treat a number of clinical diseases including Antimicrobials and Anti-cancer drugs. It has been an extremely good experience for me to be on this cruise as I am a laboratory based scientist who will get samples in tubes without any real understanding of how they are sampled and their geographical location and also the difficulty of sampling so this is a steep learning curve but an enjoyable one. It also gives me the chance to find new species of bacteria or fungi as we know so little of the true numbers of marine bacteria. We have moved now to the Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone which is a channel which has been made over time in the ridge itself with a depth of up to 4000 metres in an attempt to locate a missing lander. The weather is quite bad so the ROV cannot be deployed however it should be deployed in the early hours of the tomorrow morning.


Iain Douglas

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