KU Alumna Completes Deep Dive for Marine Research

Ocean Deep Dive

KUTZTOWN, Pa. - 2017 KU graduate and former marine science/oceanography and geology major, Sarah Moriarty, recently completed a deep ocean dive on the Human Occupied Vehicle (HOV) Alvin submersible on the East Pacific Rise. Moriarty is currently working on her master’s degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland in the earth sciences department and is excited to share her findings, as submersible dives are crucial to marine research and quite rare for graduate students.

Moriarty and Dr. John W. Jamieson, assistant professor of earth sciences at Memorial University of Newfoundland, will examine pieces of inactive black smoker chimney sulfides retrieved from the hydrothermal vent complex at 9 North by Alvin. Moriarty and Jamieson will use radioisotope techniques to determine the age of the sulfides, which will help their Hot2ColdVents colleagues figure out how microbial communities among vents evolve with time.

HOV Alvin is a three-person submersible operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution that makes extensive research possible. During its 55 years in service to science, HOV Alvin has made more than 5,000 trips into the deep ocean to observe deep sea sediments, collect rock and fluid samples, run experiments on the seafloor and learn about the microbiology, geology, chemistry and mineralogy of vents on the East Pacific Rise.

Hot2Cold Vents is an interdisciplinary effort between Texas A&M University (TAMU), Texas A&M University at Galveston, the University of Minnesota, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the U.S. Geological Survey, Western Washington University, Memorial University, the University of Bergen and the University of Southern California to understand the microbial communities that make up hydrothermal vent ecosystems. Led by chief scientist Dr. Jason Sylvan from TAMU and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the project includes two research expeditions on the R/V Atlantis to study vents at 9°50’N on the East Pacific Rise with Alvin, after which a free, one-day professional development workshop will be held in summer 2020 for Texas middle school teachers and informal science educators interested in increasing their ocean science knowledge and collaborating with scientists.

For more information about Hot2Cold Vents and Moriarty’s work, please visit https://sylvangeomicrobiology.wordpress.com/hot2cold-vents/.