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).
Dear Virtual Science Team, We’ve seen so many exotic and amazing creatures it makes me smile just thinking about them. As you know, the deep is a very important home to so many mysterious and marvelous animals.
Some moments, though, cause my smile to fade. At the deepest depths, we see trash. Human created garbage mars the beauty even at the great depths where we’re studying, 6,562 feet (2,000 m).
At this deepest habitat, where there’s so little structure, some of the animals try to colonize on the trash. But as you can see with the anemone wrapped in the plastic, its growth is being warped. We saw fishing line, soda cans, trash bags, and even a big oil barrel. Now that you’ve helped us explore the deep, you have an important job. Help us keep it clean.
Many people do not realize that everything they do on land affects the deep — from not properly disposing of trash to not monitoring invisible pollutants such as chemicals like the detergents, fertilizers, cars, and other products we use all the time.
How can you help? It’s easy to make a difference. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Be aware of the products you use that might run from your home, lawn, or driveway into storm drains an into streams and rivers. It all makes it to the ocean. What do you think you can do to help us protect the deep sea? Tammy
Dr. Tamara Frank
Chief Scientist and Deep-Sea Explorer Creep into the Deep Mission: Bioluminescence and Vision on the Deep Seafloor 2015 Expedition, NOAA-OER
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
…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.
Be part of WhaleTimes next Virtual Research Mission…
Gray Whales: Celebration of Conservation
Students connect with Southwest Fisheries Science Center-NOAA (SWFSC) biologists at the Piedras Blancas (California) field station. This is the third year SWFSC scientists have invited classrooms ‘into’ the gray whale research station. Students learn about the importance of monitoring and counting mother-calf pairs, photo identification of individual whales, and more.
Mission Date: April 20 to May 1, 2015
To register or find out about classroom scholarships contact: graywhales2015 this URL