Investigation into Bacterial Growth

Steve Lewis exploring the Water Pipe Tunnel
Image: Jill Heinerth

One of the scientific tasks our team will undertake during the Bell Island Mine project this February is collecting samples of bacterial mats, sediment, and water at various collection points throughout the exploration area, and sending them for analysis to Dr. Cheeptham, in the microbiology department of Thompson Rivers University, B.C.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that because daylight does not penetrate caves and mine shafts, these environments support no life at all. However, this is far from the truth. Life will find a way to thrive even in conditions that seem harsh to surface-dwellers. Certainly in the dark, underground environment of Bell Island Mine, life is tough and organisms must find an alternate energy source to sunlight. But we noted very prolific bacterial growth on equipment and fixtures during our initial exploration.

Fascinated by this, we contacted Dr. Cheeptham, who has several papers published on cave life. Our hope was she had a grad student willing to research exactly what’s made its home deep in shaft #2. Luckily she agreed. Thanks Ann!

Mine Quest 2.0 Sponsors

Royal Canadian Geographical Society BELL ISLAND MINE

Projects of this type are realized in part by volunteer efforts: each team member making a significant personal commitment of time and expertise. Most are also largely self-funded, and without team members making the required financial investments to cover travel, equipment, and other expenses, projects such as this simply would not happen.
However, another important contribution to the viability of any endeavor on this scale is made via the generosity of many companies and equipment manufacturers who support both individual team members as well as the team as a whole.

Many thanks to the folks who have supported and sponsored me in the past, and for this particular project:

Many Thanks to All
Many Thanks to All

 

Ocean Quest Adventures
Newfoundland, Canada
Primary Sponsorship for MineQuest 2.0

O’Three Ltd.
Come in from the Cold

Dorset, UK…
Drysuits, and Thermal Protection

Deep 6:
Expedition Dive Gear

Georgia, USA…
Regulators, and Accessories

Light Monkey:
High-Quality Technical Diving Equipment

Florida, USA…
U/W Lighting Systems, and Batteries

ScubaForce:
Made by Divers for Divers

Florida, USA…
SF2 eCCR, and Reels

RAID Diving:
Excellent Diver Training

UK & USA
Logistical support