Blog Posts Tagged "microbiology"

Microbiology on IODP Leg 330

Hi!  My name is Jason Sylvan.  I am a microbiologist at University of Southern California, and I will be keeping a blog throughout IDOP Leg 330 to the Louisville Seamount Chain describing some of the research that I do, the technology we use to collect samples from below the seafloor, and life on a research vessel.

Getting ready and setting sail

Here I talk about what kind of scientists are aboard IODP Leg330 and what they study, plus a bit about how I am preparing for my sampling routine.

Intro to seafloor drilling

Seafloor drilling is quite a technological feat, as I can now attest from first hand experience.  In today's blog, I will show you a bit of the technology employed to collect samples for the scientists on Leg 330.

It's Cold in the Cold Room!

Today I'll show you a bit of the working space I have here on the JOIDES Resolution, specifically the cold room where I culture subseafloor microbes.  Come on in, and bring a jacket!

Inductively Coupled What?!?

Here you'll learn what the heck the subject of that picture is, and why it's important to IODP Expedition 330.  Isn't it pretty?

Be prepared for the unexpected

Seafloor drilling is a technologically challenging task, and sometimes things don't go as planned.  We have now twice run into unusual problems, but because of excellent planning by our co-chiefs and staff scientist, work has progressed despite these obstacles.  If one wants to do research like this, they better have plans and backup plans and even backups to the backup plans!

How fast do these microbes grow?

We know that there are microbes living in the rocks below the seafloor, but very little is known about how quickly they reproduce.  Here I talk about one way I am trying to learn the answer to that question.

How do we know our samples are clean?

Obtaining clean samples from seafloor drilling can be a challenge- the drilling itself pumps massive amounts of surface seawater into the borehole as lubricant for the drilling machinery.  This seawater contains lots of potentially contaminating microbes, such as phytoplankton (who have no place living in the dark subseafloor!), but there's no way around using it.  Luckily, there are ways of checking to see that your samples are not contaminated, and I discuss that here.

Near Disaster!

Life can be dangerous for those who work on the sea- especially if you are an iPod.  I narrowly escaped losing my iPod to the crack between my bed and the wall- in today's blog post I recount this harrowing adventure!

Processing rocks for microbiology sampling

In today's blog, I'll walk you through my sampling process- I realized I've shown some of the experimental methodology I use out here, but nothing about how I get to that point.  That's what I'll cover here.