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Support of Gulf of Mexico Hydrate Research Consortium: Activities to Support Establishment of a Sea Floor Monitoring Station Project. Progress Report: December 2004-May 2005

Description: The Gulf of Mexico Hydrates Research Consortium was established in 1999 to assemble leaders in gas hydrates research. The group is administered by the Center for Marine Resources and Environmental Technology, CMRET, at the University of Mississippi. The primary objective of the group is to design and emplace a remote monitoring station or sea floor observatory on the sea floor in the northern Gulf of Mexico by the year 2005, in an area where gas hydrates are known to be present at, or just below, the sea floor. This mission necessitates assembling a station that will monitor physical and chemical parameters of the sea water and sea floor sediments on a more-or-less continuous basis over an extended period of time. Development of the station has always included the possibility of expanding its capabilities to include biological monitoring, as a means of assessing environmental health. This possibility has recently received increased attention and the group of researchers working on the station has expanded to include several microbial biologists. Establishment of the Consortium has succeeded in fulfilling the critical need to coordinate activities, avoid redundancies and communicate effectively among researchers in this relatively new research arena. Complementary expertise, both scientific and technical, has been assembled to promote innovative research methods and construct necessary instrumentation. Initial components of the observatory, a probe that collects pore-fluid samples and another that records sea floor temperatures, were deployed in Mississippi Canyon 118 in May of 2005. Follow-up deployments are planned for fall 2005 and center about the use of the vessel M/V Ocean Quest and its two manned submersibles. The subs will be used to effect bottom surveys, emplace sensors and sea floor experiments and make connections between sensor data loggers and the integrated data power unit (IDP). Station/observatory completion is anticipated for 2007 following the …
Date: March 1, 2006
Creator: Higley, Paul; Woolsey, J. Robert; Goodman, Ralph; Asper, Vernon; Mizaikoff, Boris; Davis, Angela et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department