Fluid and DNA Sampler, Remote Access

Sampling High Temperature Hydrothermal Fluids

Some of the most profound discoveries in marine research will be made in understanding the linkages among microbes that thrive beneath the seafloor and in vent fluids associated with active submarine volcanoes. To make progress in this research requires in situ measurements of fluid chemistry and temperature, and the ability to take co-registered filtered samples of microbial DNA for follow-on shore-based analyes that allow identification of the organisms and information about their novel metabolisms.

The RAS (Remote Access Sampler) allows time-series temperature measurement in real-time and in situ sampling of hydrothermal vent fluids, while the PPS (Phytoplankton Sampler) allows filtering and preservation of microbial DNA. This coupled system, developed by D. Butterfield at NOAA-PMEL, was installed from 2014-2017 in the International District Hydrothermal Vent Field at the El Gordo diffuse flow site. In 2017, the RAS and microbial sampler were placed in a junction box frame, along with the mass spectrometer, and installed at the Tiny Village site. Because it is cabled, which allows two-way communication and power, the sample bottles can be triggered from shore in response to volcanic or tectonic events.