|Recovered sediment trap with sinking detritus|
in the sample bottles from the past year.
Nearly all of the deep-sea floor is fed by a rain of dead organisms, plankton, fish, and whales sinking from the productive surface waters of the ocean. Sediment traps are used to measure this rain of food, catching sinking particles in large inverted plastic cones. We deployed two sediment traps at a mooring in an abyssal study area in October 2013, and returned two days ago to recall it from the ocean bottom more than 2 miles (>4000 m) down. Recovery of such mooring is always nerve racking – many things can go wrong over the course of 16 months due to corrosion, battery failures, or fouling of our moorings on debris at the seafloor.
Craig Smith (left), Clifton Nunnally (right), and
Andrew Sweetman (back) working on
sediment trap during recovery.
Written by: Craig Smith (Chief Scientist) - University of Hawaii at Manoa