We will finish coring at our last hole today and should begin our transit to Auckland this evening. It has been just over 8 weeks since we left Tahiti. One of the major themes of Expedition 329 has been to investigate the tiny living organisms within the sediments known as microbes. Today, I will tell you a little about the objectives of the many microbiologists on board the JR. (Many photos are included so that you can see what they have been doing.)
The microbiologists are investigating the habitats, biomass, and energy sources of microbes on the seafloor as the main objective of the expediton, but each is also conducting their own research. Here is what is being looked at. Microbiologists are counting the number of microbes within the sediments are various depths, they are looking at whether or not hydrogen is being used by microbes for energy, others are culturing the microbes present in seawater, sediments, and in viens in the basalt, and a few are studying the genetics of the microbes. Some of this work is being done while we are out to sea, but some will need to be done on shore in labs where additional lab facilities are available. The microbiologists and other scientists have come from all over the world and an important outcome is that many of them are making connections for future collaborations. That is important in the field of science.