25 deg 19.21S
Longitude: 70 deg 02.41E
Wind Direction: NNE
Wind Speed: 22 Knots
Sea State <4
Swell(s) Height: 8-12 Foot
Sea Temperature: 79°F (26.1°C)
Barometric Pressure: 1007.9 MB
Visibility: 10+ Nautical Miles
species of snails, including this hairy snail, were collected at the
hydrothermal chimneys last night.
Daily Update: The Great Snail Escape
By Amy Nevala
snails living at the hydrothermal vents turned into a chase
last night when the spiral-shelled mollusks escaped capture-
snails, one of at least four species living at the vents, are a
priority for several biologists because the snails are similar
to those found at hydrothermal vents in the western Pacific Ocean.
The scientists are interested in comparing the genetics of the
snails from different oceans to see if the mollusks are related.
Last night after collecting a bag full of the plum-sized
snails, we were directing Jason back to the elevator when some
shrimp distracted us. Rather than lose sight of the shrimp, we
decided to leave the bag of snails on the seafloor to pick up later.
When we returned, the snails had crawled away.
You dont think they can go that fast, said biologist Shana
Goffredi, adding that snails move slowly on one muscular foot. Its
pretty bad when snails are outrunning you.
We then gathered a second bag, which we accidentally
dropped from Jasons
manipulator arm. The snails rolled down a hill for another getaway.
By now we thought the snails were truly plotting against us, said
Determined to capture the snails, we scooped a third
load and deposited them into a container on the elevator, then
went looking for shrimp. When we returned and lifted the lid, the
snails were ready. They had crawled from the scoop and were sticking
to the underside of the now-open lid.
Whoosh, they drifted away in the current, said Shana.
In the end, our determination paid off and today
40 snails of four different species joined the shrimp and water
samples brought up on the elevator. Both Jason and the elevator
will return to the vent site tomorrow morning after a few minor
adjustments and repairs. Scientists spent the afternoon dissecting
the organisms and analyzing the water samples.
Early this afternoon we had a feathered visitor,
one of the first since we left Mauritius one week ago. A young
red-tailed tropicbird drifted in the winds across the bow, checking
us out as we peered back. Though we are about 500 nautical miles
and a three-day steam from Rodriguez Island, the nearest landmass,
sea birds like this one are adapted to long flights and a fish
The tropicbird didnt linger long before flying to fishier-looking
waters. We were glad for its company.
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