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  • Nicole Pittoors

Recipe for Deep-Sea Science:

  • Zip-ties

  • Milk crates

  • PVC pipes

  • Bungee cords

  • 5-gallon buckets

Grab some tools and fasteners. Assemble as needed.


Conducting deep-sea science is a mix of extremely expensive and extremely inexpensive solutions. While we are using a multi-million dollar and high-tech ROV to get down to the seafloor, it is commonly seen alongside makeshift equipment made from items easily found at your local hardware store. Plastic equipment is ideal for ocean science as it can't rust and corrode as stainless steel quickly does in saltwater. All the items in the recipe are easily modified with a saw and a drill and are a reliable way to secure expensive equipment to underwater vehicles at great depths and high pressures.


Examples:

Milk crates used as holsters for our fluid samplers on Jason. The milk crates are fastened to the basket with large washers and bolts. Bungee cords secure the samplers and can be removed and replaced by the manipulator's arms.


PVC pipes joined together to hold falcon tubes upright, making a larval trap. This trap captures down-dwelling larvae.


Many hacked milk crates created a rock basket, where rock samples can be separated based on sampling location. Shackles are zip-tied to the milk crate to weigh it down to Jason's basket. Colored duct tape helps color code sample-site locations.


Dr. Lauren Mullineaux's colonization structures (called sandwiches) are made of Lexan plexiglass plates that are held together with zip-ties. The yellow rope serves as a handle for the ROV manipulator arm and the black circles are shackles covered in electrical tape to weigh the sandwiches down so they stay on the benthos.


5-gallon buckets are used to recover samples off of Jason when it returns to the ship. Using buckets allows us to keep samples separated based on sampling locations so that we may know what exactly they are and where they came from.

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