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!
…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.
WhaleTimes has taken k-7 kids to research sites in Antarctica, California, and the deep sea through our Virtual Research Mission program…and now Oregon Coast is joining us on our next adventures with gray whales and the deep sea!
Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Oceanscape Network (ON) connects young people to science and nature using technology as a bridge. Launched early last year, ON is a free educational resource which allows teachers to build online student communities, facilitate inquiry-based science in their classrooms, and access a variety of natural history resources about the ocean, its species, ecosystems and conservation concerns. Continue reading →
Animals dressed in red velvet, some as transparent as glass, and others that flash and ripple with light so bright they could light a room. Every animal and discovery in the deep is weirder and more wonderful than the next. Only 5% of the ocean has been explored. In order to protect the ocean, there is so much more we must learn. Join us on a mission to investigate how the cool creatures that creep in the deep survive!
Take your STEM curriculum to new depths by participating in Creep into the Deep, WhaleTimes’ original Virtual Research Mission.
For grades 3-6. Teachers, ENROLL TODAY! Space is limited.