Jewfish Sink Dive

On Tuesday, we visited Jewfish Sink, a site we have been studying since 2003.  It is located in the Gulf of Mexico about half a mile offshore, a mile south of Aripeka, FL. The sink is about 200 ft deep. See Garman et al. 2005 and 2011 for details. The purpose of the dive was to collect sediment, water and wall biofilm samples from the deeper anaerobic portion for Madison and Chelsea's projects. Bobby and I made two dives. The first was down the center of the sink to the debris mound at 154 feet where we collected sediment. After a one hour surface interval we made a second dive along the eastern wall to 112 feet where the biofilm is particularly thick and we were able to collect plenty of biofilm with large plastic syringes. We also collected water column samples. Although the surface water is well over 80 degrees this time of year, the deep water in the sink was only 66 degrees so we were glad to get into the warmer water for decompression. One of the things we want to see is how similar the microbial communities in this offshore sink might be compared to those in similar saltwater coastal sinks found on shore. Madison and Chelsea provided boat support. It was a beautiful day, glassy smooth with no wind. There were dozens of dolphins feeding in the area and we saw a number of large rays and sea turtles as well. We left the lab at 8 in the morning and returned around 6 at night. All the other students were in the lab when we returned to help process the samples well into the night. It was a fantastic day and a successful trip!

As I write this, we are waiting to see where Hurricane Irma will be heading as it will likely have an effect on the lab's activities next week. Hopefully all will be well.

Dr. Garey and Bobby adjusting a rebreather prior to the dive with Madison looking on.

Dr. Garey and Bobby adjusting a rebreather prior to the dive with Madison looking on.

Dr. Garey on the left, Chelsea on the right. Note the dolphin in between.

Dr. Garey on the left, Chelsea on the right. Note the dolphin in between.

Dolphin oh the left, Bobby on the right. The sink is just below the dolphin.

Dolphin oh the left, Bobby on the right. The sink is just below the dolphin.

Hudson Grotto Dive

Bobby Scharping and Dr. Garey completed a dive in Hudson Grotto yesterday.  The goal was to bring a full set of samples from the deep section (132 ft deep). It was Bobby's first scientific dive using a rebreather. We dropped down to the bottom of the grotto and headed to the south wall, and turned left until we found a section of wall with extensive microbial mat. Although the surface water was 89 degrees, the bottom was 74 degrees in this anchialine system. We collected a water sample for stable isotopes, and then filled 9 syringes with microbial mat samples from the wall. After that we moved a few meters away to avoid the sediment we disturbed and collected water column samples, and finally, some sediment samples. We spent another 30 minutes or so decompressing and making our way to the surface. Once we arrived back in the lab, Madison, Vickie and others were there to process the samples and carry out the chemistry tests and DNA extractions. So it was another great day!

New website

Thanks to graduate student Christina Moss, we have a new Garey Lab website. We are trying out a blog to keep interested folks up to date on the lab activities. Now in early August we are planning a dive next week to Hudson Grotto to collect some deep microbial mat samples for Madison Davis' project. Other than that, lab members are catching up on LH-PCR and qPCR runs and analyzing some Illumina sequence datasets collected earlier this year. I include a photo of a lab meeting in the office taken late last year.

from left to right: arian, Christina, Madison, vickie, bobby and misha.

from left to right: arian, Christina, Madison, vickie, bobby and misha.