Sampling Cold Seeps
Cold seep ecosystems are interesting to many scientists. Geologists are interested in better understanding the seafloor processes that form these ecosystems. Chemists and physical scientists are interested in the chemical composition of the bubbles and how they interact with the surrounding waters. Biologists are studying the biodiversity and the trophic dynamics of the organisms that live around cold seeps. To help scientists better understand cold seeps, many samples are collected and brought back to the lab for further analysis.
Push-cores are plastic tubes which are pushed into the sediment using the ROV’s manipulator arm. As its pushed down, sediment fills up the tube as water escapes through a valve at the top. Additionally, gas samples are often collected at cold seeps using specialized equipment that can catch and store the gas from the bubbles seeping out of the seafloor. Together these samples can help scientists better understand the geological, chemical, and biological processes of a cold seep.