Expedition 336 patch
16 September -  17 November 2011
22° 45' 18" N, 46° 5' 17.9988" W
Bridgetown, Barbados to Ponta Delgada, Azroes
Katrina J. Edwards and Wolfgang Bach 
Adam Klaus 
Jennifer Magnusson
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IODP Report
Expedition 336 patch

Mid-Atlantic Ridge Microbiology

The top layer of the earth’s crust is full of cracks and fractures. Beneath the ocean, these networked cracks and fractures fill with water that flows through them as the ocean moves and changes. This type of watery network is called an aquifer, and the deep ocean crust contains the largest active aquifer on Earth. Living within this aquifer are all kinds of tiny lifeforms (microbes) that make their homes in this deep ocean landscape. But how many microbes are there? Are there different kinds? Where do they come from? How do they live, eat and move within this deepsea network? These are the questions that scientists onboard IODP Expedition 336: Mid-Atlantic Microbiology hoped to answer. By installing three subseafloor observatories (“CORKs”) into the ocean crust, IODP scientists wanted to gain new information that will help them understand what life is like below the ocean floor.

Here are some resources to help you learn more about the science and mission of our expedition:

  • Read this blog post by Katrina Edwards for an introduction to our expedition and an explanation of the fundamental questions we’re trying to answer.
  • Watch this animation that describes what a CORK subseafloor observatory is
  • Watch this video to learn what an osmosampler is and why we are putting them down below the seafloor, or this one to learn more about CORKs
  • Ask a Scientist if you have a question about our research or want to learn more about what it’s like to be a scientist on this expedition

Expedition Videos

Deep-Sea Microbes in the News

expedition 336 science party