Deployment: AT18-14

Chief Scientist: 
Virginia P. Edgcomb (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, WHOI)
Principal Investigator: 
Joan M. Bernhard (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, WHOI)
Platform Type:
Start Date: 
End Date: 
Eastern Mediterranean; 35.3 N 21.7 E

According to the pre-cruise plan, the two main science objectives are: (1) water column sampling at two basins: Discovery and Urania Basins, at 3 depths: brine (approx 3500-4000m depth), halocline (~3500m), and reference (~2000m) using a new sampler, the SID-ISMS (under construction), with the vessel CTD/Niskin rosette as backup and (2) sediment coring at both basins, using ROV Jason. Cores will be collected in 3 locations for each basin, the "bathtub ring" where the halocline impinges on the seafloor, the brine, and a reference core sample from above the halocline. Station "Discovery" (35° 19.213’ N 21° 41.351’ E) will be occupied for 6 days as will "Station 2" (35° 13.674’ N 21° 28.58’ E).

The proposed science activities include: (1) water column sampling using the SID-ISMS to collect in situ filtered water (ship must hold position during deployment while instrument is working) and preserved in situ for molecular work; (2) water column sampling using the SID-ISMS to collect in situ filtered and preserved samples for FISH/microscopy experiments; (3) grazing experiment using SID-ISMS to collect water from halocline of each basin and measure the grazing rates of protozoa over a 6 hour period. The instrument must remain at depth during the 6 hour SID-ISMS grazing experiments. The sampler can be lifted to ~3000 m depth to get it away from the bottom, but the ship must maintain position to avoid dragging the sampler; (4) coring of "bathtub ring" at each basin using the ROV Jason that will be used to locate the bathtub ring and then collect cores at that location; (5) coring of brine at each basin (ROV Jason will reach into the brine from the bathtub ring area and will collect cores).  Corers will be a combination of large Jason pushcores (property of co-PI Bernhard) and also some RNAlater samplers (similar to those used by Tim Shank (WHOI).  The RNAlater samplers must be fabricated (and perhaps some borrowed from the Shank lab group); and (6) coring of a reference sample from outside the halocline (above) at each basin (normal seawater sediments).

The research team aboard the R/V Atlantis, headed south on 25 November 2011 from Piraeus (port of Athens, Greece), to the study areas about 100 miles west of the island of Crete.  No cruise report will be submitted for this cruise, but the science party did maintain a blog at the Dive and Discover site for  Dive and Discover Expedition 14 - The Mediterranean Deep Brines (URL:  During the cruise, 5 ROV Jason dives, 10 SID-ISMS deployments, 1 multicorer (no samples recovered), and 3 Niskin rosette casts were completed.

Image data from the ROV Jason dives for the AT18-14 cruise are available from the WHOI ROV Jason Virtual Van by clicking the year 2011 on the page's left side panel, and then clicking on the link for AT18-14.

The cruise was supported by NSF-BIOLOGY awards: (Edgcomb) (Bernhard)

Original cruise data are available from the NSF R2R data catalog