A team of OIMB scientists is currently on an oceanographic expedition in the Atlantic Ocean. Working in collaboration with Duke University and North Carolina State University, the scientists from U.O. are exploring cold seeps in the western Atlantic Ocean from July 8 – 18. During the first half of the cruise they successfully tested newly developed sampling equipment and discovered a previously unknown shipwreck!
The sampling equipment is affectionately called the Plankzooka and is affixed to the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Sentry, which is owned and operated by Woods Hole. Dr. Craig Young helped in the design and planning of the plankzooka and a team of OIMB scientists (post-docs, grad students, technicians, and undergraduate students) were the first to collect samples from it. The maiden voyage was a success and the team was then able to give the sampler its official name: the SyPRID Sampler. A cyprid is a larval form of a barnacle and the OIMB team is currently using the SyPRID Sampler to collect deep sea larvae, so the play on words made a good fit. It stands for SentrY’s Precision Robotic Impeller Driven Sampler.
The shipwreck was an exciting find of the expedition, which has since been highlighted in many news articles. It was originally spotted as a “target” on multibeam mapping done by Sentry, who was hoping to find one of our moorings. The next day, the submersible Alvin was deployed to check out the target and recover the mooring. Unfortunately, the target was not our mooring, but it did turn out to be a previously unknown shipwreck! The vessel appears to have been wooden and not much is left, but they did find an anchor chain with bricks and an assortment of artifacts. The data was sent to shore and it appears the wreck is from an 18th century vessel!