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.

Science Team member and cephalopod expert, Dr. Heather Judkins (University of South Florida St. Petersburg) quickly identified it as a giant squid — 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

 

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.

Virtual Research Mission blogs

Celebration of Conservation and Creep into the DEEPEND Seamails™

Welcome Teachers. This month we’re posting some of the Seamails and activities from our most recent Virtual Research Missions: Celebration of Conservation and Creep into the DEEPEND.  We’ll post the email from the Science Team member, plus photos, videos, activities, Explorer mini-posters (bios) or other related information or links. For our programs, teachers pick and choose, mix and match the Seamails, photos, activities…etc. how ever you would like to use them with your class. (We put the blog — aka Seamail in pdf format for ease of use in the classroom.)

Here’s the first one from Dave Weller from  the Celebration of Conservation: Gray Whales, Elephant Seals, and Vaquita. Enjoy

Celebration of Conservation Highlights:

TEAM GRAY WHALE

(NOTE: For classroom use only. Seamails, photos, activities and other related curricula are copyrighted and trademarked and cannot be sold, posted, repackaged, or used in any other way without written permission of WhaleTimes, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Heteropods, Postcard from the DEEPEND

What does everyone want for the holidays? Postcards from the DEEPEND, of course! Throughout we’ll post a new Postcard from one of our amazing, talented, and simply fun scientists from the DEEPEND Consortium.

Merry Deep Sea or Happy Anglerfish or is it…

Kris Clark and the adorable heteropods

PDF Version Kris Clark and the adorable heteropods

 

 

DEEPEND Consortium

Creep into the DEEPEND: September 28 to October 9, 2015

Research Project: Deep-Pelagic Nekton Dynamics of the Gulf of Mexico

Students become part of the DEEPEND consortium, a group of deep-sea scientists investigating the biodiversity and distribution of animals in the Gulf of Mexico’s deep-sea ecosystem. The deep is by far the largest affected habitat from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The consortium includes more than 30 scientists from 11 different universities and agencies, led by Dr. Tracey Sutton (Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center).

 

Video courtesy of the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Oceanscape Network

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