Microscopic Photos of the Deep Ocean Flux

Conte's research is supported by collaborative projects through the MBL and her primary affiliation, the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS).

mscope1Fine Particulate Material (<125µm)
Very small particulates make up the bulk of the sinking flux material. This fine fraction is composed of the carbonate and siliceous skeletal remains of phytoplankton and zooplankton, fecal pellets and other detrital plankton debris, and suspended clays and other lithogenic material. Its composition is revealed by its chemical signature and by microscopy, such as this Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM) of coccoliths and diatom fragments imbedded in a fecal pellet.

mscope2Microzooplankton (Pteropods, Foraminifera, Radiolarians)
Foraminifera are a group of amoeboid protists that produce an elaborate shell often made of calcium carbonate. Incorporating their surrounding elements into their shells, foraminifera deposited in sediments are extremely useful in paleoceanography, and are used to reconstruct the ocean conditions and climate of the past. Pteropods (Thecosamata), a suborder of pelagic sea-snails, are composed of aragonite, an easily dissolvable form of calcium carbonate. The intricate shells of radiolaria are composed of silicate.

mscope3Aggregates / Organic Remains
Many gelatinous zooplankton such as Salps and even some of the smaller hunters of the mesopelagic community, the pteropods, utilize feeding webs, which are often a sticky mucus consistency, for concentrating and collecting prey. When these structures become clogged, they can be discarded and rapidly sink to depth, playing an important role in the aggregation and relatively rapid transfer of particles from the surface waters to the depths of the ocean. Large particles (such as pieces of Sargassum from the surface) and biogenic aggregates (such as fecal pellets) also provide a rapid transfer of elements to the deep.

mscope4Macrozooplankton & Vertebrates
While not a major component of the trap samples, macro-zooplankton can find their way into the samples where they are immediately preserved by the mercuric chloride poisoned seawater brine. These “swimmers” are removed and archived during the processing. The zooplankton and occasional small fish collected in the trap samples represent a snapshot of the surrounding community at that time. The traps often capture reproductive events such as larval “blooms” of midwater species.

For each OFP sample, all particles >125µm are photographed and documented for image archives
Every 1cm2 grid of each OFP sample (>125µm) is photographed for the image archive
3200m: Foraminifera Globigerinoides ruber, pteropods and interesting particle
3200m: Foraminifera Globigerinoides & bivalve shell
3200m: Fecal pellets, juvenile pteropod shells & glutenated juvenile foraminifera spheres
500m: Shells of pteropod Styliola subula
1500m: Pteropod shell of Diacria quadridentata
3200m: Fecal pellets, & foraminifera (Globigerinoides ruber & glutenated juvenile sphere)
1500m: SEM of Coccoliths & microparticles (<125µm) collected post Hurricane Fabian
1500m: Diatom
1500m: Phaeodarian
1500m: Suspected deep-sea echinoderm larva
500m: Pteropod Cuvierina atlantica
500m: Juvenile pteropod Clio cuspidata shell (center)
3200m: Fecal pellets, glutenated foraminifera spheres, juvenile pteropod shells
1500m: Macrozooplankton
3200m: Deep sea worm
Macrozooplankton (swimmers) are photographed, removed & preserved. While not sinking flux, they are a snapshot from around the traps
1500m: Gastropod shell
500m: Various developmental stages of foraminifera Globoratalia truncatulinoides
1500m: Pteropod shell of Limacina bullimoides
1500m: Sinking surface algae and barnacle
1500m: Pteropod shell of Creseis conica
3200m: Possible bryozoan
3200m: Fecal pellets, pteropod shells & foraminifera
3200m: Microzooplankton (Phaeodarian?)
3200m: Pteropod shell of Peracle reticula
1500m: Amphipod
1500m: Microplankton and Globigerinoides foraminifera
1500m: Possible echinoderm larva
3200m: Fecal pellets, pteropod shells and foraminifera
500m: shell of pteropod Peracle tricantha
3200m: Sinking aggregate
500m: Pteropod Limacina inflata, L. trochiformis & L. bullimoides shells
1500m: Gastropod
1500m: Shell of pteropod Styliola subula
3200m: Possible Gastropod and Heteropod (white shell)
500m: Pteropod Clio pyramidata
3200m: Sinking salp fecal pellets
500m: Foraminifera Globorotalia menardii, G. ruber, & pteropod shells
3200m: Foraminifera Globigerinoides spp.
3200m: Foraminifera & pteropod shells and fecal pellets
3200m: Sinking aggregate and fecal pellets
1500m: SEM of Microparticle (<125µm) collected post Hurricane Fabian
1500m: Pteropod shells of Limacina bullimoides and L. inflata
3200m: Pteropod shells of Clio pyramidata & Diacria quadridentata
500m: Pteropod Limacina bullimoides shell
500m: Gastropod shell
1500m: Microzooplankton
1500m: Sinking aggregate
1500m: Macrozooplankton
3200m: Pteropod shell of Limacina bullimoides
500m: Juvenile pteropod Clio cuspidata (center) & foraminifera
3200m: Sinking Sargassum blade with epiphytes
500m: Foraminifera Globoratalia truncatulinoides
1500m: Sinking aggregate
1500m: Pteropod shell of Clio pyramidata
3200m: Pteropod shell of Diacria trispinosa
3200m: Gastropod shells
500m: Cyclothone deep sea fish
1500m: SEM of encrusted fecal pellet (<125µm) collected post Hurricane Fabian
3200m: Fecal pellets, glutenated juvenile foraminifera spheres (center), & pteropods
500m: Ostracods
3200m: Sinking aggregate
3200m: Microzooplankton
500m: Heteropod Atlanta peronii shell
500m: Foraminifera Orbulina universa
500m: Deep sea fish juvenile
500m: Zooplankton larvae
500m: Pennate diatoms and Silica flagellates
1500m: Atlantid heteropod
3200m: Gastropod shell
1500: Phaeodarian feeding net
500m: Pteropod shell of Limacina bullimoides
500m: Pteropod shell of Creseis clava
1500m: SEM of Microparticle (<125µm) collected post Hurricane Fabian
1500m: Macrozooplankton & Pteropods
500m: Shell of pteropod Diacria quadridentata
1500m: Shell of pteropod Limacina bullimoides & foraminifera Orbulina universa
500m: Foraminifera Globigerinoides spp.
3200m: gastropod
3200m: Heteropod Atlanta peronii
3200m: Sinking aggregate
1500m: Microzooplankton
1500m: Foraminifera Orbulina universa
500m: Foraminifera Globigerinoides spp.
3200m: Microzooplankton (possible Phaedarian)
3200m: Gastropod shell
1500m: Gastropod
3200m: Heteropod Atlanta peronii shell
1500m: Sinking feeding net and copepods
500m: Various developmental stages of foraminifera Globoratalia truncatulinoides
3200m: Fecal pellets, glutenated foraminifera spheres, G. ruber & pteropod shells
500m: Amphipods
Every 1cm2 grid of each OFP sample (>125µm) is photographed for the image archive
500m: Foraminifera including Globorotalia menardii and Globigerinoides spp.
500m: Microzooplankton
500m: Larval zooplankton
3200m: 3 Foraminifera Orbulina universa & Pteropod Limacina inflata
500m: Gastropod
500m: Pteropod shells & Foraminifera
500m: Limacina trochiformis
Every 1cm2 grid of each OFP sample (>125µm) is photographed for the image archive
1500m: Discarded feeding net
500m: Possible hydroid colony
1500m: Diatom
3200m: Globigerinoides ruber
3200m: Sinking salp fecal pellets
500m: Microzooplankton
3200m: Pteropod shell of Limacina bullimoides
1500m: SEM of Microparticle (<125µm) collected post Hurricane Fabian

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