Lauren E Gillies
– CTD at Sunrise –
Department – Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Science (Graduate Student) –
Research Field – Biological Oceanography –
How image was captured – Digital Camera –
Research Impact & Significance – I am researching the microbial community in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) dead zone. The dead zone is a large area of low oxygen that forms off the Mississippi River due to stratification of the water column, nutrient enrichment and decomposition of organic matter during the summer months. The GOM dead zone is one of the largest human caused dead zones in the world (Diaz and Rosenberg, 2008; Rabalais et al., 2010). While marine fauna are unable to survive at low oxygen levels, microbes are able to utilize alternate electron acceptors, such as nitrate, and can therefore influence processes such as nitrification in the GOM dead zone. This image is of the instrument we use to collect seawater for microbial DNA and RNA extractions, as well as measure seawater properties at different depths. It is called a CTD, which stands for conductivity, temperature and depth. This photograph was taken aboard the R/V Pelican during one of the annual GOM shelfwide! cruises that map the size of the dead zone.