International cooperation (Taiwan-U.S.A., Taiwan-Russia, Taiwan-Germany)


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1. Taiwan-U.S.A.

Samplings of sea floor sediments, rocks, corals, benthic biological samples and other samples at the bottom of sea are difficult tasks with most sampling equipment unable to see the object on the sea floor prior to sampling. Not knowing what is/are at the bottom of the sea, most samplings are un-predictable and therefore may take enormous amount of time and erroneous efforts in getting useless samples.  Towcam (tow camera) is an instrument develops in WHOI (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute) capable of providing sea floor pictures and sampling water and rock.  We have been collaborating with Dr. Dan Fornari (WHOI) in building a Towcam system to study sea floor chemosynthesis community related to gas venting and gas hydrate.  Towcam results reveal diverse and unknown benthic ecosystems on sea floor around Taiwan.  Figure 4 shows Towcam deployment on board r/v OR1.  Figure 5 shows a vent community appeared at an authigenic carbonate sea floor crack.  In addition, a project has been initiated in using ROV (remote operate vehicle) to better study the effect of different tectonic settings on gas composition and gas flux with WHOI and USGS scientists.

Figure 4. Towcam deployment on board r/v OR1.

Figure 5. Chemosynthetic community on top of a gas vent surrounding by authigenic carbonate.

2. Taiwan-Russia

Lake Baikal in Russia is the world largest, in volume, and deepest freshwater lake.  Situated in the central Siberia with annual winter freeze, gas hydrate have been found in the lake bottom at various locations.  As a NSC-RAS (Russian Academy of Science) collaboration project between Taiwan and Russia, we are studying formation of gas hydrate in the Lake Baikal freshwater environment in order to study and compare differences in freshwater and seawater environments (offshore SW Taiwan) on the related biogeochemical processes.  Special emphasis is placed on sulfur cycling and sources.  After a coring sampling cruise, Taiwan and Russia scientists kept their memory (Figure 6) next to the sampling research vessel, r/v Vereschagin, in Lake Baikal.  Figure 7 shows the freshwater gas hydrate at the bottom of a core taken from the Malenky mud volcano in the Southern Lake Baikal.

Figure 6. Twelve scientists standing next to r/v Vereschagin after a coring cruise in early autumn. (Drs. Alina Stadnitskaja, Svetlana Chernitsyna, Tatiana Pogodaeva, MeiChin Lai, Tsayao F. Yang, Saulwood Lin and Gennady Kalmychkov (not shown))

Figure 7. Freshwater gas hydrate at the bottom of a core taken from the Malenky Mud Volcano area, Lake Baikal, Russia.

3. Taiwan-German

German scientists are developing advance sampling equipments to investigate gas hydrate in the ocean.  We are building a collaboration project with IFM-GEOMAR and MARUM in using their TVG and MEBO to sample gas hydrate offshore SW Taiwan.  TVG (Figure 8 ) is a TV guided large bottom grab capable of sampling 0.6 cubic meters, equivalent to 2 tons of solid rocks, gas hydrate or soft mud.  Views of sea floor are transmitted to the surface vessel through armored fiber optic cable enabling a better selection of on site target samples. MEBO (Figure 9) is a self contain deep sea drilling instrument enabling a coring drill through 70 m below sea floor at a maximum water depth of 2000 m in either rock or soft mud setting.

Figure 8. TVG recovery/deployment on the r/v Sonne.


Figure 9. MEBO deployment on the r/v Meteor.