The Squid Whisperer Strikes Again!

Gulf of Mexico, Wednesday, June 19, 2019: Dr. Edith Widder and Nathan Robinson called out into the deep to see what would answer. Something did, in a very big way. A GIANT SQUID!

This is only the second time a living giant squid has ever been caught on camera. And both times the videographer was Dr. Edith Widder. Both times Dr. Widder’s special deep-sea camera system, called the Medusa, did what no ROV or submersible has been able to do.

The Medusa is a stealth camera system that captures video footage in the deep. Because the Medusa uses red lights that are invisible to most deep-sea inhabitants and has no noise-generating thrusters, it can serve as a stealthy observer of light and life below the twilight zone. (It’s design is to be unobtrusive, unlike an ROV or submersible.)

How do you call a squid? Lights. In the deep, most animals use light. Animals use bioluminescence to find food,  communicate, and escape danger. The lights on the Medusa recreate the alarm lights of an atolla jellyfish. When startled, this jellyfish puts on a light show that beats anything in Vegas. Scientists believe the light show, like a car alarm, catches the attention of other predators. If the jellyfish is lucky, a larger predator will swoop in and eat whatever was trying to eat it. That allows the atolla jellyfish to slip away into the dark.

The Medusa uses specially designed lights that mimic the color and pattern of the atolla’s glowing scream for help.

Dr. Widder and Dr. Heather Judkins (USFSP), who are aboard the ship, sent the footage to Dr. Michael Vecchione (world renowned  squid expert at the Smithsonian) to help verify it was a giant squid.  They believe it is a 10-12 foot long juvenile giant squid.

This exciting discovery, and the on-going research in the Gulf of Mexico midnight zone (below 1,000 meters/3,280 feet) are part of the “Journey into Midnight: Light and Life Below the Twilight Zone” research cruise funded by NOAA’s Office of Exploration and Research.

Read more about this exciting news: Here Be Monsters: We Filmed a Giant Squid in America’s Backyard

K-6 teachers, join WhaleTimes’ this fall for Creep into the Deep: Journey into Midnight and learn more about Dr. Widder (aka the Squid Whisperer), Dr. Judkins…and the rest of this amazing research team and their discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico. Find out more.

Creep into the Deep: Journey into Midnight education program and the Journey into Midnight: Light and Life Below the Twilight Zone research sponsored by NOAA-OER

 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Office of Ocean Exploration and Research announces the:

Journey into Midnight: Light and Life Below the Twilight Zone 

June 7-23, 2019

Join our Science Team as they explore bioluminescence in the deepest parts of the Gulf of Mexico! 

 Despite being the largest habitat by volume on the planet, the water column remains one of the most poorly explored environments. This is especially true once one moves below 1000 m into the bathypelagic realm.

From June 7 to June 23, 2019, join a team of deep-sea experts as they explore some of the deepest part of the Gulf of Mexico between 3,750 and 4,384 meters (12,303 and 14,383 ft) specifically to study bioluminescence and vision capabilities of the organisms that live there. The rest of the summer WhaleTimes will share their discoveries with you. What we learn is sure to be illuminating!

NOAA Ocean Exploration Webinar for Educators

Journey into Midnight – Light and Life Below the Twilight Zone 2019 Expedition

Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at 4:00 PM EDT

Please register at:  https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8902228179294145281

Despite being the largest habitat by volume on the planet, the water column remains one of the most poorly explored environments. This is especially true once one moves below 1000 m into the bathypelagic realm.

Join Dr. Edie Widder, world renowned deep-sea explorer and founder of the Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA), as she shares the fascinating science behind the upcoming NOAA Ocean Exploration and Research supported expedition, Journey into Midnight: Light and Life Below the Twilight Zone.

From June 7 to June 23, 2019, Dr. Widder and her team will explore bathypelagic depths (the water column below 1000 m) in the Gulf of Mexico to study bioluminescence and vision capabilities of the organisms that live there. What we learn is sure to be illuminating!

This 60-minute webinar will provide an introduction to the expedition and associated education resources available online.

Questions? Contact susan.haynes@noaa.gov.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Journey into Midnight: Light and Life Below the Twilight Zone

Mark you calendars for the exciting NOAA-OER deep-sea cruise to Sigsbee Deep in the Gulf of Mexico.

Ocean explorers Dr. Sönke Johnsen, Duke University; Dr. Tamara Frank, NSU; Dr. Tracey Sutton, NSU; Dr. Edith Widder, ORCA; Dr. Heather Judkins, USFSP; and Heather Bracken-Grissom, FIU will explore below 1000 meters.

Hope you can join us.

Find out more: Creep into the Deep: Journey to Midnight

More to come…

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Deep See in the Deep Sea workshops Broward County Schools

 

 

 

 

Florida here we come! How do deep-sea animals use light to communicate? What would it be like to look through the eyes of a deep-sea animal? How do ocean scientists use DNA to study deep-sea populations? Next week, K-6th grade students from Broward County School will find out! Dr. Tamara Frank, deep-sea explorer and professor at Nova Southeastern University and  WhaleTimes Director Ruth A. Musgrave will spend the week traveling to schools throughout Broward County Florida sharing Dr. Frank’s deep-sea research.

“This is our third year visiting the Broward County schools,” said Dr. Frank. “The kids and schools are amazing and we are looking forward to another exciting week.”

This program was funded NSF Award 1556279 entitled “Collaborative Research: The Evolution of Bioluminscence and Light Detection in Deep Sea Shrimp (Oplophoridae and Sergestidae)”

 

Kids see through the eyes of a deep-sea animal

 

 

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A cool week with sharks

Cool kids. Cool speakers. Cool sharks. We may be having a heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest, but it’s been a cool week for our Sharks vs People program. Trista and Sage, shark experts from the Oregon Coast Aquarium  shared their expertise with summer camp students at two cool science centers — the St Louis Science Center and the Science Center of Iowa.

Sage, Trista, and the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Thank you!

 

 

Today is Fintastic Friday!

Today is Fintastic Friday: Giving Sharks, Skates, and Rays a Voice! Celebrate with us. Tell your friends. Post a Shark Conservation Zone sign and more!

Flat Stanley helps WhaleTimes and DEEPEND scientists celebrate Fintastic Friday. You can, too!