This is a giant isopod, a deep-sea scavenger about the size of a small dog. Does it look familiar? It might. Perhaps you’ve seen one in your backyard. Well, not as big as this, but a much, much, much smaller version. It’s a distant relative of the giant isopod. You might call it a roly-poly or a pill bug. it eats rotting fish or animal carcasses it finds on the ocean floor. Yum!
Not only is the giant isopod a delightful critter with an unusual diet, it has fascinating eyes. Our Creep into the Deep Science Team is studying both bioluminescence and vision in the deep. The science team wants to learn more about these incredible creatures and how they survive in the darkest deepest parts of the sea. They suspect that the giant isopod’s slow compound eyes help it see the dim mats of bioluminescent bacteria that dust the ocean floor. We can’t wait to learn more, too!
July 20, 2015
Dear Virtual Science Team Members…
Welcome aboard our research team! Thank you for being part of our Science Team for our NOAA-OE Research Mission: Bioluminescence and Vision on the Deep Seafloor 2015. The Science Team at sea includes Heather Bracken-Grissom, Sonke Johnsen, Charles Messing, Edith Widder, and me, Tamara Frank. On July 14th, we traveled to Cocodrie, Louisiana to board the Research Vessel (RV) Pelican. We spent one day in port setting up all of our equipment, including the Global Explorer ROV. The Global Explorer, about the size of a small mini-van, needs to be lifted by a crane aboard the ship. Once it was on the ship, all the connections needed to be hooked up and tested to make sure that everything works (pilot controls, cameras, lights, hydraulics) before we left the dock and set sail to our first study site.
We’ll spend the next 12 days exploring depths between 3,280 and 4,921 feet (1,000 and 1,500 m) using the Global Explorer ROV. We’ll take photographs and videos and also collect live animals for our studies of vision and bioluminescence.
Only 5% of our oceans have been explored, so every dive is important and full of discoveries. We’re happy we can share this fascinating world with you.
During the cruise, you’ll receive Seamail updates about our discoveries and can ask us questions. You can also learn more about our research and find a map of our dive sites on the Bioluminescence and Vision on the Deep Seafloor 2015 NOAA-Ocean Exploration webpage. Plus, Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Oceanscape Network, and of course, WhaleTimes, will also have photos, videos, and more for you to check out.
I hope you’re ready for an amazing trip!
Cheers, Tamara Frank
Dr. Tamara Frank
Chief Scientist and Deep-Sea Explorer
MEET THE CREEP INTO THE DEEP SCIENCE TEAM: Who’s an expert on what? Who got seasick on their first expedition? Who was the first person to photograph a giant squid in its native habitat? The Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Oceanscape Network created a fun and engaging video to introduce you to our Creep into the Deep Science Team members!
The team at Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Oceanscape Network has created an excellent video about whale behaviors for you. This installment of Oceanscape Network’s Science in Seconds provides footage of common whale behaviors you can observe from the water’s surface, whether you’re on a boat or watching whales from shore. Enjoy!
Thanks Oceanscape! And, Virtual Science Team Members, don’t forget to visit the Oceanscape Network at: oceanscape.aquarium.org
A gray whale is a baleen whale. A killer whale is a toothed whale. What’s the difference? This installment of Oceanscape Network’s Science in Seconds provides footage and information about the differences between baleen and toothed whales. Enjoy!
Join WhaleTimes, Southwest Fisheries Science Center/NOAA and the Oceanscape Network, for Gray Whales: Celebration of Conservation, a Virtual Research Mission that connects gray whale biologists with students, teachers, and the public. This event runs April 20 to May 1, 2015.
…a consortium of amazing scientists and organizations studying the Gulf of Mexico deep sea. WhaleTimes will share that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to you through our Creep into the Deep Virtual Research Missions, Postcards from the Deep, Taking Science Deeper Curriculum, and so much more.
Our first Postcards from the Deep…Endarriving this spring.