At NC State we have the luxury that we have our own research institute right at the ocean. The Center for Marine Sciences and Technology (CMAST) is located in Morehead City, 2.5 hours by car from main campus.
In the last week of April we went to CMAST to use it as a base to explore the area around Morehead City for potential marine sampling sites. We are looking for a diverse range of chemosynthetic animals, which live in shallow-water marine sediments. These animals live in symbiosis with bacteria that provide all nutrition to them.
Rebecca is enjoying the ride on one of the CMAST boats to the sampling sites.
One of our first sediment samples recovered from 4 m water depth by free-diving.
Our first potential chemosynthetic creature seen through a dissecting microscope. This worm-like organism is actually not an animal. It likely is a ciliate called Kentrophoros, which is a unicellular organism that also lives in symbiosis with bacteria.