Microbiology

On Expedition 329, the microbiologists are interested in very tiny organisms referred to as microbes. As a group, they are investigating how deep, within the sediments, microbial life exists. One of the problems that they face during the sampling process is contamination. During the coring process (drilling operation), seawater is sent down the pipe for various reasons. This means that it flows around the plastic core liner and can possibly contaminate the core with microbes, the very thing the microbiologists are interested in. To get around this as much as possible, the microbiologists are taking sediment samples from the outside edge of the core and from its center (see photo below). If there is any contamination, the center sample should be free from it. Some of this work is being done on the catwalk and some is being conducted in the reefer (refrigerated room).