Sulfide Microbial Incubator

The sulfide insert microbial incubator is a tube-like data-collecting instrument that is left on the seafloor for long periods of time after being inserted into a hole drilled in the wall of a black-smoker chimney (link to section on Geology_JDF_vents). Developed by Dr. Deborah Kelley of the University of Washington, the incubator is designed to measure hydrothermal fluid flows, which can reach temperatures up to 350 degrees C in the interior of a chimney.

Chambers within the incubator serve to collect and isolate microbes. Data collected help scientists better understand the upper temperature limits to life by defining the environment inside the wall of the chimney and the temperatures preferred by the different types of microbes that live there.