Samples at the Laboratory
Samples archived in the Seafloor Samples Repository at the laboratory are available to the scientific community at large. Except for new suites of materials reserved for proprietary use by the collecting P.I.’s, all of the cores, dredges, corals, grabs and submersible recoveries can (upon user request) be examined, sub-sampled, and used for research and publications.
Each of the seafloor samples is annotated with detailed ‘station’ data and carefully archived. Standardized procedures are applied while sediment cores, dredges and submersible samples are described. This allows us to digitize the descriptive data along with the station definition information and then employ comprehensive search software, SEDCORE 2000, to distill samples from the inventory by specifying values for many different parameters. In addition, the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI), formerly NGDC, lists all of the Seafloor Samples Repository samples among the 100,000 in its data base. NCEI acts much like a clearing house for information and referrals and with their on line tools you can search the nations marine geological sample resources.
All the samples in the repository are classified in specific subgroups [cruises] and are related within that subgroup by the scientific goals that a particular expedition set out to accomplish. The scientists who set those goals to solve a particular problem, and ventured out to collect the samples, have initial proprietary use of the recovered material. However, once the primary analysis period is over -- usually 2 years - the samples become part of the main collection and are available for specified research to qualified applicants. The entire body of samples can and has been recombined by viewing through a filter defined by a formula of parameters that specifies a new investigator’s particular research objectives. This ‘recycling’ process is fundamental to the way we operate the facility, and we encourage those who might exploit this invaluable resource with our open sample distribution policy.
The Seafloor Samples Repository is a vast library of material from the bottom of the sea. The contents of the library fulfill not only the research goals of those individuals who initially collected the marine geological samples but also those investigators from the community at large who choose to undertake new or continuing work by selecting from and utilizing the resources we preserve.
Support for the lab is provided by grants from the National Science Foundation and the United States Geological Survey Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP).