SALSA (Serial Autonomous Larval SAmpler) is an autonomous vacuum system that filters huge volumes of seawater (several tens of thousands of liters) at great depth, and thus collects particles, plankton and larvae present in this seawater.
SALSA is equipped with several filters placed in sampling bottles installed on a rotating plate that allow the collection of five successive samples during one deployment. The system is lowered down on the bottom by the lift and displaced by the Nautile to the selected location. A program that defines pumping and bottle rotation times is loaded into the SALSA piloting system by the user before deployment, that will be autonomous on the bottom.
Once the sampling is done, the Nautile put SALSA back in the lift and send it up to the surface where the seawater contained in the sampling bottles is immediately analyzed, photographed and conditioned for a deeper processing of captured organism in the lab.
Deployed on the bottom at increasing distance from an active hydrothermal site, SALSA will evaluate the distribution of larvae around the site. These data will be confronted to bottom currents data to estimate the larva transportation between hydrothermal sites.
During the HERMINE cruise, we will test the deployment of SALSA on a cable to pump in the hydrothermal plume of TAG and evaluate its role in larvae export.