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Marine Applied Research and Exploration (MARE) is launching an expedition to map and document deep sea corals off the California coast
My name is Rachel Bujalski and I am a documentary photographer. Over the past decade I've been documenting stories around alternative living. My next long term project “We All Live Here” will be a dynamic representation of the affordable housing crisis focusing in Los Angeles County, the Bay Area, and the San Joaquin Valley.
Although we do not have our ROV, we have created some steps to get us ready towards our first expedition. We want to survey the amount of marine debris in the water by using transects. We will visit 5 beaches where we will launch our ROV. The best time to gather data will be after a busy summer weekend, holidays, and when the tide is low. These are the next steps towards our expedition: Get the ROV Learn how to use it Come up with a plan and a testable question Visit 5 beaches with piers that can be easily accessible to launch ROV Collect information Review data/ videos Analyze the results Inform results Possible next steps would be: Modify the ROV to collect debris Work with local volunters divers to collect trash
DAY 2: “On the other side, it didn’t say nothin’... This land was made for you and me.” ~ Guthrie Location: Standing Indian Shelter to Long Branch Shelter Date: Sunday, 10 June 2018 Distance traveled today: 16.3 Miles Current weather: Clear, 78F Current elevation: 4431’ Sleeping: Shelter (loft) Water: Excellent; stream 200 yards from shelter AT Mile Marker: 102.0 iNat Project Link: Open Explorer: Appalachian Trail from Dick’s Creek to Nantahala Senses: Confident, goal achieved for today ahead of pace. Good evening conversation with four women hiking in pairs and Carl, who showed up after us. Trail Notes Leaving the shelter this morning, we were hiking into the sun, and it was spectacular. The greens and soft yellows of the reflected sunlight that trickled through the canopy provided a crisp start to the remainder of our hike up to the summit of Standing Indian, and a pretty easy hike to get our lungs opened up. After the first day on the trail you start to settle in, realize how much water you’ll drink and when, and discussions can fall into an easier meter. “Do you need a break?” is a frequent conversation starting question, although my kid talks and hikes, so we’re typically talking anyway. Honestly, “the listening” is easily the best part of these hikes. Just being “Dad” and being there to listen to my child and see how her mind sometimes jumps back and forth between topics from her horse to how someone’s birthday cake should be decorated, and understanding some of the reasons for her perceptions -- it has deep meaning while it is happening, but I expect it will mean even more as she gets a bit older and I have to decipher her teenage mind. As noted above, the AT is “the green tunnel,” but there were a few spots on the trail today that opened up for great views as we made it to Albert Mountain. For those not interested in the straight-up-and-down stair-stepper-style hike to the peak, Albert Mountain has a “side trail” that allows people to work around it, and with some people physically crawling to the top of Albert, it is an option to consider. When we showed up at the shelter this evening there were four single-person tents in a row on the bottom level (i.e. - inside the shelter) and four women having dinner. They were traveling in pairs, with two friends from Iowa and two from Georgia/Florida. They said they set up their tents inside the shelter because they didn’t like mice. (”HYOH") The second full day was the day that our mind started focusing in on our “when-I-get-off-of-this-trail” meal. For us, the two things we talked about eating a lot today were hamburgers and school-cafeteria sloppy joe’s. We craved sloppy joes, which is really funny, because I don’t know that we’ve ever eaten them at the house. I mean, really, what was it that got stuck in our heads to make us think of sloppy-joes… All. Day. Long. The other thing we craved, and I’m not sure if it was an actual craving or just some delirium, was hamburgers, and we took turns laughing and repeating Steve Martin’s pronounciation lesson in his portrayal of Chief Inspector Clouseau (i.e. - I wouldliketobuytamburgurrr!). Migrating and Native Peoples Outside of sloppy-joes, every day, our trek is defined by two basic questions: Where are the resources we need to find to survive today (answer: water!), and what do we need to do to get those resources (answer: find and filter!)? In a sense, these are similar to the basic questions of all migrations, with a slight difference for human migration at times due to the relative “value” sometimes driven by market forces, and sometimes, seemingly randomly assigned (by humans) to those specific resources (yay, economics!). By the time Europeans started to report on exploration into the Americas in the 1400s, the lands had been explored and managed by native populations for thousands of years. The cultivation of teosinte into corn at about the same time as the first cereals in the Fertile Crescent on the other side of the world nearly 8,000 years earlier shows advanced understanding of science, and would have provided the staple crop that allowed civilizations to flourish (note: it took until the Woodland Period, several thousand years later, for corn/maize to reach what is today the southeastern United States). In his book 1491, Charles Mann estimates that there could have been at least tens of millions of people (maybe over 100 million) in the Americas by the time Europeans arrived, with vast numbers of those peoples later wiped out due to diseases brought by European explorers and settlers (specifically, smallpox). If those numbers are accurate, the decimated tribes likely would have been impacted several times, requiring several re-constitutions of tribes, communities, and economic markets over the intervening 300 years. During that period of fewer humans, much of the value of the agrarian and pastoral efforts would have been lost back to wildness, likely contributing to the remarkable bounty described by waves of European settlers that started to arrive in the 1700s. The native tribe central to our southern Appalachian story are the Cherokee, whose creation story involves a suspended earth covered by water, and a water beetle that dives beneath the water, tossing soft mud around to form land, and a buzzard that scouts where the water beetle had been, dipping its wings into the mud as it grew tired from flying. As the wings touched the soft mud, mountains and valleys were formed, giving the earth its contours and shape. According to the story, the soft mud eventually dried enough for animals and people to populate the earth. If you visit south western North Carolina you can visit Kituwah, a small, rather nondescript mound between Bryson City and Whittier, North Carolina on the Tuskegee River that the Cherokee call “the mother town.” By the mid-1700s, tensions between native people and the new settlers were increasing, as evidenced by a quick internet search for battles and treaties from the era. For the European immigrants, it was a time for taming this “discovered” wild-land (in King James version, biblical parlance, one could say they were exercising “dominion”) that led to wealth creation, and major-players of the day included well-known surveyors and land speculators like Daniel Boone and future-first-president George Washington (who acquired several thousand acres of prime real estate in the years leading up to the American Revolution). People in Appalachia will point to the quick and decisive Battle of King’s Mountain (on the North/South Carolina border) in October of 1780 as the turning point of the American Revolution. In the battle, the “Overmountain Men” of Appalachia assembled and used tactics learned when fighting Native People to quickly and overwhelmingly defeat Loyalists in about an hour’s time. The battle was said to be a morale-changer for Patriots, who, until that time, were suffering great losses in the northern campaign. In the years after the war, trails west across these mountains saw substantial traffic, notably the Great Wagon Road (which eventually stretched from Pennsylvania to Georgia), and the Cumberland Road (which traveled east/west through the Cumberland Gap near the North Carolina/Tennessee border and into Kentucky and beyond into the mid-west). Not all of the movement through these mountains was voluntary, and the Indian Removal Act forcibly and violently removed native people from their ancestral lands, relocating them and requiring that they walk across multiple borders for permanent settlement in Oklahoma in the 1830s. The names of places we pass on this expedition, including last night’s stay in “Standing Indian Shelter,” are a reminder of the people who once occupied this land, and the differences between our voluntary and easy “get-a-selfie migration” from Georgia to North Carolina yesterday versus the forced migration during the Trail of Tears, and the prohibited migration and family-separation currently happening along the borders in our home state of Texas. Human migration can be a complicated issue, but, from an humanitarian and human rights perspective, it isn’t, and children have no place in political football anywhere (particularly in America). ...okay, that’s enough reflection for today. I think I'll add a couple of pictures to iNaturalist -- check them out and help us improve our observations! Here's a song that has been in my head today...Dave Rawlings Machine High-5, Trevor
Team leader Alexis Will is originally from Fairbanks, Alaska (the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks), but is currently working with the National Institute of Polar Research in Japan. The group itself is quite diverse with members of the team hailing from Japan, Russia, France, and Alaska. These teams have collaborated on several previous studies investigating the responses of seabirds to environmental changes in the Bering Sea. Wendi Pillars is an educator selected to team with the researchers in order to help communicate science in the classroom, connect her students to the community in which the research takes place, and whose students would benefit from the opportunity to connect with an Arctic community. Wendi is one of 12 educators selected by PolarTREC this year to help expand scientific thinking in new ways in various areas of the polar regions. The PolarTREC program is managed by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS), a non profit based in Alaska with an office in Washington D.C. ARCUS is a consortium of educational and scientific members committed to arctic research and has received funding over the years from the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs for PolarTREC. We will be researching impacts of climate change and sea ice on Arctic Seabirds. Estimates are that 80 or 85 percent of the United States’ seabirds nest in Alaskan waters, and most of those are in the Bering Sea. St. Lawrence Island is considered to be the "gateway to the Arctic" and is rich with sea life for feeding birds, but as with the canary in the coalmine, birds are considered sentinels of change here, too. Climate change impacts the marine food web in myriad ways, we will be analyzing seabird vomit, blood, and feathers (!) to understand their diets, and nutritional status (whether they are able to meet their energetic needs). We will also be collecting small tracking devices the birds have carried during the past year to gain insight into where they have traveled throughout the winter. This information will help my research team to understand what the future seabird community and marine food web may look like as sea ice continues to retreat from this region of the world. Will the retreat of sea ice make it more challenging for seabirds to find food? Will it open up new habitat for birds to use in the winter? These are the kinds of questions the research is designed to answer. (Photo was taken by Lisa Sheffield Guy, and is housed in the PolarTREC archives)
Part of preparing for this expedition in particular is photography. I recently had the pleasure and amazong opportunity to learn about photography, videography, and science-telling/storytelling from experts at National Geographic Society. That experience alone is worth it's own post! Suffice it to say I learned a lot and try to practice what I learned often. Some key points I learned were: Unless you absolutely must (or have a crazy-awesome camera meant for this type of shooting) do not zoom in--YOU get close! Since I am shooting with my iPhoneX, I am working on the "no zoom" principle and finding ways to get close to what I want to shoot. Patience. Man--if you know me at all, this is NOT me. It requires a lot of concentration for me and I am getting better each time. Waiting for the right shot is paramount. Perspective will make or break your shot. Working on this concept is actually what makes it fun for me. I take tons of pictures of the same subject from as many different angles as possible. I have the most fun, honestly, when I pretend to be microscopic and take photos from underneath a subject. You didn't take enough pictures (even if you took 1000) Functioning on this principle means, just keep shooting. You never know what you will catch. Better to have too many than not enough. Wait, you can never take enough. . .so scratch that. So, those are my biggest takeaways, I learned a lot more than that of course, but the point of this post, really, is to share some of my favorite shots from today's practice shots. Do you have tips and tricks for photography? Share them! I am enjoying practicing now and can't wait to use my skills in the field and share with you all soon! Support this expedition in 3 different ways: http://www.boilingriver.org/how-to-help/ http://a.co/b7OqadN https://www.gofundme.com/expedition-amazon&rcid=r01-152925981786-a9a0d1f48eae487c&pc=otcocampmgmtw
Class has begin! Prior to sailing, there is a 2-week shore component. The students have arrived, including an i-Kiribati student and Observer, Moamoa. She is hard at work learning navigational charts and the science of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), but she is up to the task. My favorite part of the shore component is meeting all the students, telling them the story and history of PIPA, and watching the whole room get goosebumps at the same time. Me too! The story is really that good. After all, when a least developed nation makes a marine protected are the size of California... BEFORE everyone else did.... that was a giant act of conservation. I should tell you the story in more detail, and I will, I promise, when I'm in a goosebump-y mood and I'm not crazy busy packing. But until then.... I promise, it will be worth the wait. :-)
Getting ready! Our Atlantic Ocean field tests did not happen because we have been totally distracted with getting packed, getting our other tech all sorted out, and spending hours on the phone with Fiji Airways booking and re-booking flights due to some last minute changes. But you know, that's field work.... Once we are on the plane on Friday, all of that will be done, and we will be able to focus on the mission at hand. But until then, as the boxes start to pile up, I have come to the realization that I need more stickers on my Pelican cases. I have some, to be sure, but a well-stickered Pelican case is high-fashion luggage in the science world. Taking any and all sticker suggestions... !! Back to packing, Randi
Eelgrass is an important foundation species found in the shallow waters of bays and estuaries. Like other seagrass species, eelgrass can form large meadows that provide habitat for hundreds of associated species. Eelgrass also provides a number of ecosystem services, including nursery habitat for commercially and recreationally valued fishery species, erosion prevention, wave and storm protection, oxygen production, and carbon sequestration. Unfortunately, seagrasses are in global decline in large part due to human disturbances like physical destruction of habitat, excessive input of nutrients and resulting consequences (macro- and micro-algal blooms), and changes to the coastal food web due to overfishing. In order to protect this important resource, we need to know the current extent of eelgrass and determine whether it is changing over time. We seek to establish an ongoing monitoring program that uses a Trident ROV to quantitatively track significant changes in eelgrass habitat over space and time in Bodega Bay Harbor, California. We propose a program that includes researchers and students at Bodega Marine Reserve and Laboratory and citizen scientists, and employs vetted monitoring techniques for detecting changes in seagrass occurrence and cover using remote underwater video.
The Ocean Twilight Zone is one of the most remote places left on our planet. This eternally, nearly dark region of the ocean is home to some of the most alien looking inhabitants that we know very little about. Using robotics and state-of-the-art instrumentation, our team of biologists, engineers, and technologists work together to discovery and study animals in this mostly unexplored area in our oceans for bioinspired engineering design. Bioinspired engineering design is the field of study that looks to nature for ideas, where favorable mechanisms and behaviors of animals could some day be reverse engineered to develop technologies of the future. By studying birds, humankind has developed manned flight - a concept that links each and every one of us to the rest of the world in a matter of hours! What will we be inspired to do by animals we know almost nothing about in the final frontier of our planet? Join us as we embark on field expeditions to answer this pressing question. Led by Kakani Katija, an MBARI Principal Engineer and National Geographic Explorer, the Bioinspiration Lab will go in the field near and far searching for ideas for bioinspired engineering design.
It’s been a longtime coming, but we’re incredibly excited to report on our debut dive day with ARREE. In collaboration with OpenROV, our team was able to conduct dive operations concurrent with a Trident test flight in Stillwater Cove, Carmel, California. Stillwater Cove (SWC) sits within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is one of the best places to study kelp forest ecology. In conjunction with the Edwards Lab’s focus on kelp forests community dynamics, we have been exploring the formation of sea urchin barrens, and the differences between these two systems. In order to aid in our understanding of the differences in processes between a community dominated by photosynthetic kelps, and those dominated by voraciously herbivorous sea urchins, we have been deploying experiments from Baja California to the Aleutian Archipelago in Alaska. Our experimental set up in SWC provided the perfect opportunity to collaborate with OpenROV and their Trident Drones. We were thrilled to have OpenROV employees Zack, Mike, and Nicole join us as we explored the vibrant kelp forests and adjacent sea urchin barren grounds in SWC. With the help of our newest lab mate, ARREE the Trident, we will continue exploring and document the changes kelp forest communities are experiencing in an age of unprecedented social and ecological change. Join us as we continue to explore autotrophic communities (those dominated by photosynthetic organisms likes sea grasses and algae) along the Eastern Pacific. We’ll be taking ARREE to Catalina Island this summer to explore fascinating algal communities called Rhodolith beds, and the human impacts to this fragile yet vital ecosystem.
These shells are what brings our Save the Nautilus team to Fiji. (photo from shell shop in the Philippines) For decades, nautilus fisheries (primarily in Indonesia and the Philippines) and world-wide trade have gone largely unregulated, with no oversight or monitoring. Imagine if you never, ever, kept track of what was in your bank account and you kept taking, and taking, and taking... Eventually, your account would be empty. This is exactly what has happened to populations of nautiluses. They are fished, fished, and fished some more, until the fishery crashes.Then, the traders, not the fishermen, move to a new area and the process repeats itself. Over and over again. Even with some great steps made for nautilus conservation (below), it is important that we continue monitoring both fished AND non-fished (Fiji) nautilus populations. It is also important to engage local communities, and the international community, in the continued research to protect nautiluses. In Fiji, we will be continuing surveys, adding new methods to our work, and increasing our impact with even more educational outreach activities. All together, we will save the nautilus! #NautilusStrong #SaveTheNautilus ALL NAUTILUSES listed on Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) - https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/pressreleases/2016/chambered-nautilus-10-03-2016.html _ Nautilus pompilius_ proposed for listing at Threatened Species on United States Endangered Species Act (USESA) - https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/listing-chambered-nautilus-under-endangered-species-act
Every year marine life are entangled in fishing gear that is left in the ocean. Fisherman, Dick Ogg from Bodega Bay has been involved in searching for abandoned fishing gear and crab pots in order to reduce the number of entanglements in the Sonoma Coast area. We are excited to have the use of an Mini-Rov (water drone) to help with this effort. Our expedition will start as soon as we receive our first ROV.
As if this opportunity were not AMAZING enough already--I want to share with you two MORE reasons I am looking forward to this expedition! Reason 1 (for today): Samra Zeweldi, my roommate! I met Samra one amazing day in Washington DC in March of this year. This year's class of Grosvenor Teacher Fellows were all notified in February 2017, of selection. At the same time, however, we were instructed that we could not notify the public until a later date. This was an incredible secret to keep. In March, all 40 of us would be in Washington DC to meet in person for the first time and be able to freely talk about our selection. This, of course, was only with one another, again, we had to keep this secret under wraps a little while longer. Not only would we meet our fellow . . . Fellows, we would meet our roommate(s). This was it! I was going to meet Samra, and I have to tell you I was incredibly excited and nervous at the same time. I can be a lot to handle, I talk a lot, I am rather loud to boot, and I have a lot of energy. Oh yeah, I am also THAT morning person--so meeting Samra was filled with energy and I could only hope she would embrace me for me, and we would be on a magical journey together. As fate would have it--we were instant friends! Samra is a cool, calmer than me type--so we balance each other out well. We hold the same values as educators and human beings which was also amazing to learn! I could not be more happy or excited to be on expedition with her! Reason 2 (for today): Sylvia Earle. Yep, I said THAT name. Sylvia "Her Deepness" Earle will be on our expedition to Galapagos and I still cannot believe this. I read the announcement near daily. If you are unfamiliar with Sylvia, please do yourself a HUGE FAVOR and visit this site: https://mission-blue.org/about/ and follow her on twitter @sylviaearle You will NOT be disappointed!
Today nine educators convened to prepare for our expedition to Badlands National Park. It was a very full day per the video below. Also, I found the lost car key. Actually, Taylor (one of the participants) found it while we were outside looking for arthropods. Apparently, I had stopped to check the rain gauge when I dropped it. The weather is still a concern. Rain and more rain. We will do our work in the rain. We won't melt. It will make a good story, if not today then someday. This is how explorers roll.
"In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught." - Baba Dioum WHO: Alison Travis, a first grade teacher based in Colorado and Stacy Gasteiger, a fifth grade teacher based in Pennsylvania WHAT: Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship field-based professional development, made possible by National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions WHERE: The Galapagos Islands, sailing aboard the National Geographic Endeavour II WHEN: September 14-23, 2018 for 10 days. We'll be arriving on the same day that Darwin first arrived 183 years ago! WHY: To connect in-class learning (specifically in science) to the world at large for students, to inspire students to get involved with global issues, and to provide other teachers with resources tying together exploration and education HOW: Digital storytelling driven by student inquiry, using narratives as well as digital, underwater, and 360-degree photo and video Photo by Ralph Lee Hopkins
Yesterday we had our second photovoice session. We were able to have a great discussion about the pictures that the school kids took during the first session. Some interesting themes that came up were the legends and culture surrounding the cenotes in the town; the natural history, such as rock formations; and contamination. The students taught us a lot about how the cenotes are part of their ancestors and are a central part of their culture and community. There are many interesting stories surrounding the cenotes as well, such as the serpent that protects the gold inside or the sacrifices that happened there. The students were also very concerned about the contamination--for example, they told us that people should appreciate and conserve the water inside the cenotes. After our discussion we handed out surveys to the school kids to take another look at the general thoughts about the cenotes in their town, which also resulted in great answers such as the one pictured below. Along with the global investigators and UNO students, the school kids then went back to the cenote to take more pictures--this time focusing on one of the major themes. Translation: "For me the cenotes are life and joy" C: know them E: Explore them N: it's never too late O: never forget them T: we should always take care of them E: Instead of contaminating them
Saying Goodbye A dramatic retelling of our first and final voyage with the Trident ROV by Greta Olson - Junior at Jones College Prep - Spring Intern On June 9th, the Aquarius Project Team rode up to Sheboygan, WI, where we had been invited to ride out on the NOAA research vessel, Storm. We had a full itinerary including testing a magnetometer, our temperature and RGB light sensors, and passing over the shipwreck of the Selah Chamberlain. ) After a day of successful tests, we planned to finish off with our first deep water test run of our ROV, the Trident. For this test, we used a controller to make the ROV easier to navigate. After some initial difficulty setting up, we launched it into Lake Michigan to test maneuverability in deep water and to get footage of the shipwreck. I was lucky enough to have the privilege of being the first pilot of the Trident for our test. Controller in hand, I watched as Jack (a teen participant on the Aquarius Project) threw the ROV into the lake. Tumbling through the air, it hit the water in a dizzying roll. At first, it was challenging to get my bearings, as, until the lake bottom becomes visible, there are no points of reference to indicate the movement of the ROV. As this was the first real test of the Trident and only my second time operating it, it took a minute or so to understand the information display. The current was gripping, and combined with the persistent pull of the boat, the ROV was incredibly difficult to maneuver, resisting all attempts to turn it and move up or down as it was dragged backwards. Eventually, I was able to gain some control of the Trident and got it to turn around. Suddenly, the ghostly shadow of the wreck was visible. Everyone on the ship gasped with a mixture of shock and delight, the boat appearing from the green depths making some people, myself included, jump. I steered towards it, and was able to get close to some broken beams of the ship. Pillars of wood, coated in mussels loomed in front of the camera. Sadly, our triumph was short-lived and the alien landscape turned treacherous. The current pushed the shipwreck out of view and only a spectral shadow could be seen through the green water. As I attempted to move the Trident around and steer it back, algae and mussels were kicked up into the camera, and the shadow continued to loom from a distance. After a brief moment, a horrific disbelief fell upon everyone on the boat: the ROV was stuck. We tried everything: letting out more line, gunning the engine, pulling up the line, but nothing worked. A few times, the Trident lost its connection with the controls, and we could only wait and hope that it would be restored so we could try again. As the minutes ticked by though, our hope rapidly faded away. We began to suspect that the weight we had attached to the line must have gotten caught and wrapped the whole line around something. The R/V Storm was anchored to the wreck, the ROV line keeping us from going anywhere. Ultimately, the decision was made to cut the line. We had done everything we could, the fog was rolling in, and we had to go back to shore. One of the crew, NOAA archeologist John C. Bright, volunteered to do the mournful job of cutting the line. And, with a final snap, our ROV was left there, off the coast of Sheboygan. With glum faces, we turned back towards land. Our day had been so successful up to that point, and it seemed a shame to end on such a bleak note. Even though we had resolved that we would never see the Trident again, the crew was able to give us some hope: in August, NOAA is sending a dive team to the site of the Selah Chamberlain. If the divers are able to retrieve our ROV on their dive mission, they will send it back to us. Until then, we can only wait and hope the Trident withstands its summer in the lake.
World Oceans Day! At Point Lobos SNR, we celebrated with a couple of long-distance learning programs live from the Whalers Cove giant kelp forest. In all, about 100 students from San Diego County and New York got an opportunity to spend part of their day on a virtual mellow kayak adventure at Point Lobos. Check out this collage of some of the protected life found right here in the Point Lobos kelp forest.
Tomorrow morning, I will meet up with Guam Department of Fish and Wildlife for a kids' fishing derby. They asked me to bring the ROV (STILL unnamed) in a pool as a demo. The ocean is extremely shallow near shore, and there is no place to launch without banging up the coral and/or the ROV. Last week, I did a similar event at the mall and ran the poor robot in a cooler. People still loved it. Stepping it up this week with an inflatable 8' pool from KMart. Every time I run an operation like this, I learn another thing about these cool machines. This time, I am trying to integrate a game controller, and I have it working well enough to pilot the ROV. Still no lights or lasers, looks like some coding is required for that. Check out this test from tonight! My four year old son was able to pilot it no problem, so, I can officially declare this kid-tested for tomorrow.
Update : hunt for the missing gopro So in a previous post I talked about how in the process of testing a method for 3D mapping the underwater environment, we lost my GoPro. In the days following that little misadventure, there were two attempts to find it. Both trips came up empty. We assumed the current or a lucky Scuba diver had taken my camera and I’d even started researching the cost of a replacement. Fast forward to today. We decided to go back to the same site. We were there because my ROV is going to be used in a study of fish abundance on a reef accessible from that site. We’d been having a slight problem though, we couldn’t find the reef we wanted … We’d planned to do a more thorough search for the reef today. In addition to the ROV, I was going to go snorkel the area and search for the reef. I also wanted to make one final attempt at finding my lost GoPro. So while Mitch and Jesse got more practice on the ROV, I started my search. I found the area where we’d spotted the GoPro the previous weekend and I searched high and low, in among rocks, all over the place and drew the obvious conclusion that it was gone. I then turned to helping the ROV find this disappearing reef. I swam out in the direction I’d been described, and while I saw some beautiful fish in among the Dolos wall, I didn’t find a reef. I decided the last part of the attempt would be to swim the ROV out as far as it could go in the direction I’d just been swimming so see how far it could search. So I swam back to the entry point where Mitch was sitting. Now there was a bit of surge today and the entry point is a bit rocky, so I was cautious about getting tossed on something sharp. Close to shore now and I suddenly found the water pushing me forward and I almost went face first into some rocks on the seafloor ahead of me. I put my hands out to steady myself, and as my face came close to these rocks, I saw into a gap between them and thought, “you gotta be kidding me”, sure enough nestled down in between these two rocks sat my GoPro! I quickly reached in and grabbed it before making my way up to the steps. After a whole week, The GoPro had survived intact and still working. I’m yet to analyse the video but excited to see what adventures my little GoPro went on. Below is the photographic proof
FIELD NOTES FROM THE ANCIENT FOREST, PART I Ben said the weather on the outer coast was a constant source of entertainment. Some form of rain—whether it was a sprinkle, a steady downpour, or an intermittent burst—persisted for the first six days. “At one point late in this soggy episode,” he wrote me, “my mind was operating with the assumption that it wasn’t raining anymore, but that was only because the rain was rather light. I guess the mind works on relative terms. It was raining, just not that hard.” A storm ripped through the camp, which was exposed on open outwash gravel, and belted the team with raindrops the size of marbles. The deluge split one of the cook tents in two. The next day, Ben, Dan, and Phillip, an undergraduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks helping with the field work, moved their base to a more protected spot. It never blew like that again, however, and the spells of blue sky began to persist for longer. Spring came over the course of days. “The 4am bird chorus at the end of the trip was only a series of tentative solos at the beginning,” Ben recalled—Swainson’s and Varied Thrushes, Yellow Warblers, Tree Sparrows, and Winter Wrens in concert with one another. Spruce tips broke free from what were initially tight buds. And the glacier crossing? Well, that part wasn’t necessary. "After passing over the proposed glacier route, it was apparent that the ice was riddled with too many crevasses to pass safely," Ben wrote in his field notes. "Fortunately, the creek draining the glacier, normally a raging torrent, had now transformed into a sleepy brook, allowing us to pass to the study area with relative ease…. When we arrived at the glacier it was apparent what had happened. House-sized icebergs that had once floated in the lake stood grounded. The lake, which normally fed the creek, was dry, having finally tapped into the inner plumbing of the glacier that dammed its southern side. It was now draining below the ice. This product of glacier retreat graced us with the ability to stroll from the forest to the beach, a route we needed to use for hauling wood samples to where the plane could land on the beach. Without this auspicious lake-draining, we would have spent days bushwhacking through the old-growth forest with heavy packs where our land speed usually averages 0.3 miles an hour."
It is a small world... Some of you may know that earlier this spring, Jeff and I ran into a gentleman at Harold's Photography shop in Fargo while we were looking at camera gadgets for my upcoming expedition. This man overheard me talking about my upcoming expedition to the camera salesman and asked if I was going on the Lindblad National Geographic expedition to Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland. A bit surprised, I said yes I was, and he told us his good friends were going on that very same expedition. He called his friends and put me on the phone with Rene, and we chatted for quite a bit about the upcoming expedition. I made a note of their names in my journal, and told myself to seek them out once expedition started. My husband figured out the odds to be about 7 million to one I would meet someone on this expedition before I got on the ship. We had our welcome dinner tonight in Oslo at the Radisson Blu hotel, and wouldn't you know it, I forgot to look at my journal for the names of these guests I needed to seek out. I grabbed my dinner and sat down at a table of 9, proceeded to introduce myself to the surrounding guests. I got to talking to the lady on my left about what I was doing as a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, and the gal on my right asked if I knew a teacher from Fargo, and I was waiting for her to give me some names, thinking she knew someone from the area. Then she said she had talked to this teacher on phone, and it clicked...she was talking about me. It was a bit comical once we made the realization. So, we were sitting right next to each other in a room of about 145....what are the odds of that? The photos you see are from earlier today. We took a short tour of Oslo's Fram Museum, which reminded me of the Hjemkomst Museum in Moorhead, MN. Both are museums with full scale boats that were used in expeditions. The Fram, meaning "forward", was used in expeditions of the Arctic and Antarctic regions by the Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup, Oscar Wisting, and Roald Amundsen between 1893 and 1912. It was unique in its construction because it was round, making it difficult for the ice to grab hold, while the interior was flexible. Walking across the ship, it was much larger than I had thought. The Hjemkomst, in Norwegian meaning "homecoming", was built by Robert Asp who decided his Norwegian blood was calling him to sea. From the Hjemkomst webite: "The Moorhead Junior High School guidance counselor had shared his dreams of building a Viking ship with his brother Bjarne for years, but his plans were mobilized after a severe fall from a friend's roof that summer. While recovering from his injuries, Bob studied his Norwegian heritage and found the story of the Gokstad burial ship that had been unearthed from a burial mound near Sandefjord, Norway, in 1880. Current estimates suggest this ship was constructed circa 800 CE. Bob would build a Viking ship modeled after the Gokstad and he would dream of sailing it to Norway." There is much more to the Hjemkomst's story - check it out here. This ship was sailed to Oslo, Norway in 1982. I am finding many, many connections between home and Norway... The other photos are from the world's largest sculpture park, the Vigeland Sculpture Park with more than 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland. Tomorrow we head off to Svalbard via charter plane. I will get to posting when I can, but internet will be sporadic at best for a few days now.
Initially, we used satellite data to map the traces of faults. In the field, we planned to document these fault and educate the community about earthquake hazards and how to live with earthquakes and minimize danger. Many people are afraid of earthquakes, but they are the reason we have access to all of our resources: hydrocarbons, minerals, etc. We just need to learn to live in hazard zones safely!
Hi Everyone! Our expedition has passed the vetting process and is now live! Thanks to Madeleine at OpenExplorer for her suggestions to help us get this thing going! Our next step is to get to 50 plus follows as fast as we can! If we're one of the first members of the California MPA Colloborative network to get to 50 follows we'll get a free Trident mini rov for not only our expeditions but the entire Catalina MPA collaborative as well! Please tell your friends and family about our expedition and have them follow us! Thanks for all of your support!
Internet Down The internet is immensely useful while in the field. Accessing email and communicating with family, friends, colleagues and students back home. Communicating with host colleagues. Accessing files on drives or remote access to home or partner institutions. Cataloging my science activities and data. The internet is a work horse. Traveling abroad you should always expect some interruptions. Although Telecommunications infrastructure has been progressively improving in Tanzania since my inaugural visit in 2012, it still is comparatively less reliable than what I am use to back home in the States. Slow networks. Patchy connectivity. Slow wifi. Disconnecting Ethernet network. One second you are online and the next you aren’t or they slow down to pace of a snail stuck in molasses. You would think it would be due to network or service I’m using – I’ve used my data or my internet is being metered by my service plan. I can’t figure out, but I have noticed that when it’s out or patchy in one medium it’s out across the board. This means when I switch devices (and internet access and service plans, I may not find relief. For example, when I was writing this post the Ethernet connection via the university just disappeared. At the same time, my phone service went from 3G service to E. These are different providers and services. Sometimes I can shut my phone off then back on to reconnect to 3G. But it’s so strange to be that lose connection in every way I have to access the Internet. Sometimes, I can’t even use data to overcoming the fade out. It’s like a pulse – it up and down, in and out; and it can last for a few hours or over a couple of days. I was convinced it only happened on cloudy days – as if clouds were blocking the view of the signal waves to my devices. (As I was typing this and after shutting my phone off then on and unplugging the Ethernet, the plugging it up – 3G and connectivity suddenly apparates. So I continue my business online. 10 minutes late- out again.) See the video attached to this post. My transmission pauses several times and cuts me off unexpectedly. This is more than frustrating. It’s a productivity killer. So much work I do depends on internet access. Email. Remote access to work. Communicating. Social Media. Google – Drive, Translate, Scholar, ALL of the things. Every time I come I wish I had a BRCK. I still desperately need one. It offers the promise of stable connectivity while I am in the field. But it doesn’t actually resolve the issue I’m experiencing, it merely makes it better for me. I needed to send an email yesterday and it took over an hour to send a simple 8 word email with an attachment. I’m trying to complete an order online and it’s taking over an hour to do that – because of the internet fade outs. Now, imagine this is your normal, default. This is why collaborators from those regions may take up to a week to respond to emails or why those samples didn’t get processed or shipped. These compounded inconveniences from incomplete infrastructure are why our colleagues in developing nations aren’t top of mind when we’re asked to recommend science experts from the global south or why there’s been no African Scientists on short list for Nobel Prizes. Our STEM capacities are categorically different and we, in the West, are more productive as a result. It’s a disparity that ought not to exist. It’s a disparity I really want to level.
Greetings Enthusiasts!Some updates on our preparation/learning phase. We've done some testing with deployment from a kayak at two sites. The beautiful Ft. Munroe/Comfort Point Mill Creek, and in Poquoson in White House Cove. The Poquoson site had a good amount of trash, old crab pots on the marsh, signs, garbage...sad. Was having dive issues as well, no good video. The shot with the kayak and shallow water shot below are from Fort Munroe, the two garbage pictures are White House Cove. The amount of trash in White House Cove is sad, it's right outside of the Plum Tree island National Wildlife Reserve. The Fort Munroe site was excellent. So much here, and so much history! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FortMonroe Though, we've read that oysters spit...but seeing it is just amazing. Unfortunately, I didn't get any footage of it as the tide was going out and I forgot an anchor for my kayak, so much time was spent station keeping. The raw ROV footage of some oyster reefs and test dives are below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zvY62rifS4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lcYYxb3M3E https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-lE9nYPtmQ There were some issues. Sunlight was one of them as the kayak set up, well, wasn't really ready. However, this was a learning set of dives. And that we did.
Flying the Trident ROV Just received my new Trident ROV this week. Have been "playing" with it on the floor checking out all the functions. I have never flown one of these before so it will be interesting to see how the learning curve goes. FYI regarding technical issues: the Cockpit software is running on my Samsung S6 phone - seems to be fine. It can be controlled by a Moga Hero Power game controller with the switch in the "B" position. All controls work fine. Controls three motors, forward, reverse, pitch and yaw – Also turns on/off the camera and lights. That is pretty much all it has. The underside has lots of points for attachments – but I don’t really have anything unless we attach the water quality probe there for cave work since at one site we cannot drop the probes straight down. Maybe we can fly the probe into the cave. The Cockpit display shows depth so we should be able to get Temp., dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity and redox potential - IF we can fly the probe into the cave and not get tangled. The Cockpitsoftware is not designed for VR use as yet. BUT it turns out that I was able to clone the app and can run two versions of it side by side on my phone in landscape mode. Then with phone in the VR goggles you get a quasi 3D image and hopefully can fly in the virtual world. Only tried it with the apps search screen but it looks OK – not perfect but the VR goggles are cheap ones. Still in bright sun they should be a help since lack of screen visibility is a major a common complaint.
The Trident is really portable and can be operated using an Android phone. My set up consist of Galaxy S8 Active to a USB/HDMI adapter then to the Cinemizer VR glasses via HDMI cable. The Trident transmits from the topside adapter, seen in the middle of the tether reel, to any WIFI device(beta versions are only working on Android devices but that will change). An app controls the ROV with touch controls on the phone or with a standard gamepad. The touch controls work well and the phone is waterproof, most game controllers are not. The phone screen works well enough to pilot the ROV but details do get washed out in the sunlight. The VR glasses eliminate the glare problem, give you a second live view to share, and are a totally awesome way to ride along. The other ROV is much bigger and has several steps to operate, both pre-dive and post. The electronics tubes need to be warmed up, seals triple checked, computer connected, and a host of other little things. It uses Blue Robotics thrusters and the 360 cam/light cube housing come from them as well. These thrusters are less likely to get wrapped up, can easily run in murky water, and will be caged to hopefully keep the eel grass out. This ROV will also the the ability to go a little deeper and is wired to accept a payload. Payload could be anything from a gripper claw to a water sampler. There are also two laser 10cm that can help measure things. Electronics and software come from OpenROV. The frame was cold molded from HDPE in my garage. Both ROVs are capable or transmitting via Wifi to multiple devices and we will be experimenting with that in future expeditions. They can record depth and heading, have heading and depth hold, are really not that difficult to pilot. The Garmin 360 camera I choose because it is so flexible. The batteries can be swapped, it can be plugged into a battery pack, lens can be replaced, HDMI out, and takes an micro SD card. No one makes a waterproof housing for it yet, thus the DIY one I pieced together from Blue Robotics. The editing software is super intuitive but i should confess, I have always been a fan of Garmin products. Just keep in mind some of things I mentioned above when searching for a 360 camera. The technology is moving fast so this could be outdated already. The camera, with its housing and light, is too heavy to attach to the trident without also adding buoyancy. While there are mounting holes on the bottom to add future attachments, there is no clean way to add anything to the top. the buoyancy has to be on top and towards the outside edges to maintain a functional center of buoyancy. I may just strap some on with zipties or mold some plastic straps to mount in the bottom and loop around the top. See future posts to follow that progress. I will also experimenting with solutions to keep the props from getting wrapped. I am going to try and mount a worn down cutting disc behind the props. The disc will be big enough to cut grass but too small to go all the way through a finger. Getting the hang of the 360 camera with a pod of Pacific Whitesided Dolphins. Note the video below was shot in 4k to save battery power. Adjust the settings on the player to 4k for better quality video than default and be sure to scroll around.
Upon Dragon Rocks sits the lonely St. George Reef Lighthouse. Built after a wreck of the steamboat Brother Jonathan in 1865, the lighthouse cautioned mariners of the feared Dragon Rocks of St. George Reef for almost a century. Though the lighthouse is now decommissioned as a navigational aid, it still stands as a reminder of a time past when mariners would go to great lengths to ensure they avoided Dragon Rocks. But now, instead of avoiding this Dragon, we would like to get a closer look by shining a light on what’s beneath… The coastal waters along the North Coast of California are cold, murky, and often shrouded in fog, creating less than inviting conditions. However, for those of us that live along this stretch of coast, we know that these waters are home to an amazing host of creatures. We want to head out to the reef because many of the people in our community have yet to see all the life below the ocean’s surface. Some, including commercial and recreational fishermen, may have some ideas especially after a successful haul of Dungeness crab or limiting out on salmon, but many of us rarely get an opportunity to glimpse the ocean habitats in our own backyard. We plan to release the Trident in the areas surrounding Dragon Rocks. Following the reef from surface to depth will allow us to see a range of habitats and species. We anticipate needing a calm summer day in order for best deployment opportunities. The Del Norte Marine Protected Area (MPA) Collaborative is excited to begin expeditions that further our understanding and build awareness of marine protected areas in and along our coast. We draw our membership from the rich scientific and nonprofit community, tribal governments, fishermen, and agencies active on the North Coast.
For the 5th year we are heading back to Pom Pom island in off the coast of the island of Borneo. Pom Pom Island is a small coral islet in the Semporna Islands of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo. From the surface it is paradise: palm trees wave above the blindingly white coral sands edging turquoise waters. Benetah the surface is a different story. Although Borneo hosts to some of the most rich and biodiverse ecosystems in the world, IUU fishing, especially fish bombing is taking its toll. Beneath us is a shallow seascape of complex and colorful corals. Branching Acroporid corals provide refuge for neon blue damsel fish. Large plate-like forms two meters in diameter resemble swirling brown mushrooms, while other corals look like large orange boulders. Soft corals and anemones wave in the gentle current. The bottom is covered with over 100 species of corals painted in purples and neon greens and blues. Numerous species of small fish flit within the branches. As part of an online series called Borneo From Below, we are diving and filming the local reefs and sharks in a small island group off Malaysian Borneo, including this episode called Coral Reef in Crisis. The reef is a colorful complex and other-worldly, until we kick to the edge of an open area of broken and bleached coral. Collecting some of the fresh fragments, we surface. Our research partner, Dr. Steve Oakley of the Malaysian based Tropical Reef Conservation Center (TRACC), hands me a broken piece of coral rock the size of my hand. “Fresh fragments. See this sheared rock?” He points where the tiny cups left behind by the coral polyps line the rounded surface where the last living coral organisms had been. Beneath that layer are hundreds of years of calcium carbonate deposited by overgrown generations of living coral cups. A kind of living fossil, the side of the shorn coral indicates centuries of growth, one layer above the next. “This kind of damage only comes from fish bombing.” At the edge of healthy coral reef we find the source of the scattered fragments. A moonscape of broken rubble centers a circle with a diameter of 5 or 6 meters. We kick over a patch of healthy coral to an area where soft corals edge the margins indicating an older bomb site. Not a single living coral has recolonized the blast zone. No sharks or large fish are visible, and even the small reef fish are being extracted using this destructive practice. This is the devastation left by blast fishing also called fish bombing, an illegal but rampant form of fishing here in the Coral Triangle. In the practice, a fisherman tosses dynamite, or homemade bombs made from a bottle filled with fertilizer and kerosene lit by a short fuse into the water. The blast kills or stuns all fish within the vicinity, which are easily collected for market. Dangerous to the reef, this method also maims and kills fishermen, and it is not uncommon to see men with fingers or hands missing. What is left behind is a wasteland of flattened coral rubble that can take centuries or more to recover. Across the shallow lagoon lives a community of approximately 300 people. Many are of the Sama-Bajou, a tribe of sea gypsies who live on the island’s edge or on houses above the lagoon. Near the village is a resort where visitors stroll along the perfect white sand and palm lined beaches. While the affluent enjoy the resorts, the villagers live a hand to mouth existence and fishing pressure on the reef is heavy, added by supplying fresh fish to the resort guests. Most of the local people rely on the sea to survive and many ply their lines and nets from small open boats. Some local fishermen resort to fish bombing, a short term practice with long term consequences. This dangerous and destructive practice is rampant and virtually unenforced here and in other countries nearby like the Philippines and Indonesia. As we dive we feel the double percussive shock of a destructive fish bomb. The source of the explosion is difficult to determine, but a group called Project Stop Fish Bombing is applying detection technology to triangulate the location of the underwater blast. This tool when deployed can immediately identify the source and help increase enforcement of this illegal practice. The Hong Kong non profit Tenghoi (Cantonese for ‘Listen to the Sea’) and Malaysian media producer ScubaZoo are partnering on this project in Malaysia to implement the program and increase awareness on the issue in Malaysia. Besides thousands of species of invertebrates, the Coral Triangle hosts over 2000 species of fish and 500 species of corals, with many species endemic to the region. The coral reefs of south-east Asia currently provide food for over half a billion people, provides coastal protection, and attracts millions of tourists each year. Recent estimates place the value of goods and services provided by coral reefs worldwide between US$172–375 billion annually. Malaysia has few marine protected areas, and most of these do not have resources to enforce them. Besides combatting fish bombing, promoting community engagement and management through traditionally managed marine protected areas (MPAS) can be more effective solutions for local reef protection than government sanctified MPAs that receive no enforcement. On Kalapuan, TRACC is helping support a locally managed marine protected area called a Tagal. This will legally allow villagers to keep fisherman – especially blast fishers- out of the area, and allow locals to charge tourists a small fee to dive one of the few healthy reefs remaining in the immediate region. Economic support for local enforcement and technology through the Stop Fish Bombing Project combined with dive tourism are solutions that will, with hope, protect the reef we are diving. Local’s harvesting in a sustainable manner and self-enforcing their own interests may be the only long term solution for protecting coral reefs in developing and remote regions of the world like Malaysia. This year we will be using the Trident ROV to monitor reefs and help map areas under recovery, in addition to defining areas that have been fish bombed. Learn more about the efforts supported by Shark Stewards and partner organizations in Malaysia at www.sharkstewards.org.
The MPA Collaborative in San Luis Obispo County, CA is looking forward to using the Trident ROV add scientific and educational value by employing an underwater drone for real-time, live observations to ongoing and planned projects. It is the intention of the San Luis Obispo MPA Collaborative to make the Trident ROV available for use through a “Lending Library” format. Approved and trained users would be able to check out the equipment for deployment in a variety of underwater exploration. Working with interns from California Polytechnic State University, Collaborator San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper teams have previously conducted eel grass studies; invasive species research; storm water discharge and trash/plastics investigations in Morro Bay. SLO Coastkeeper intends to use the Trident ROV to update these studies to add scientific and to these investigations as soon as they become available through the Collaborative. In addition, the Morro Bay estuary is home to three species of smaller sharks; the horn shark, leopard shark, and the swell shark. These are slower-swimming sharks that prefer shallower waters that often let their food come to them. SLO Coastkeeper has considered studies of these species but has not had the ability to adequately pursue surveys. The use of a Trident ROV would make expeditions to gather data on habitat use and behavioral observations related to breeding in the shallow back-bay areas of Morro Bay and estuary practical.
Our expedition involves making a doc short about Emil and his creation of fusion sports in Kyrgyzstan as a means for preserving and sharing his culture. Backcountry-horse-skiing uses unique mountaineering Kyrgyz horses to trek on snow and climb into the fresh powder of the Central Asian backcountry, a cultural spin on chasing pristine turns in untracked places. Emil is taking a risk, as he tries to fuse nomadic traditions with the world of adventure tourism, hoping to create new economic systems for Kyrgyz nomads without losing their culture. Focusing on Emil’s perspective as an entrepreneur in his community, we will get an intimate look into what drove him to take on this new adventure and how it can ensure nomadic traditions become part of the modern age.
Over the last few years we have seen drastic changes along our coasts, from new species in the intertidal zone-never before seen along our shores to vast urchin barrens and the mass starvation and die-off of our abalone. We hope to be able to monitor these changes more closely with the Trident, relaying any and all data that could potentially help this delicate ecosystem to the appropriate agencies. We plan to incorporate all the data and footage gathered by the Trident into our youth education experience - FRC's Marine Ecology Program.
On the evening of March 7, 2018, over 2 metric tons* of cosmic material landed in the Northeast Pacific Ocean about 25 km off the Oregon/Washington coast. Preliminary analysis indicates that this fall is nearly 21x the total fall mass of the Park Forest, IL, which was previously the largest meteorite fall in the U.S. in the past 21 years. Over 2 metric tons* of material, initially detected using the NOAA NEXRAD radar system, survived ablation and breakup after entering the earth’s atmosphere at ~14 km/s. In addition, resident accounts and recordings of the visible light plasma that resulted from the falling meteorites, terrestrial and ocean bottom seismometers detected the meteorite impacts over the course of several minutes (https://pnsn.org/blog/2018/03/22/seismology-in-the-air)..) These include the first known detections of meteorite impacts by ocean-based seismometers. The largest meteorite detected is approximately 4.4 kg* in mass and 12 cm* in diameter. In the center of the strewn field, calculations indicate that there should be 2-3 meteorites 10 g or larger over every 10 square meters of the seafloor in the. The fall site of the largest meteorites is known to within a 1km-diameter circle. Recovering and analyzing meteorites provides critical insights into the early processes leading to the formation of the Earth and other terrestrial planets, and in the modern day understanding this fall will provide valuable information on the threat posed by asteroids with Earth-crossing orbits. Meteorites are fragments left over from the formation of our planet and are typically ~4.5 billion years old. While tens of thousands of meteorites are known and recorded in the Meteoritical Society database (https://www.lpi.usra.edu/meteor/),,) each new meteorite is important because it acts like an additional puzzle piece in sorting out the physical and chemical conditions that existed during the early Solar System. This meteorite fall is especially interesting because it is a rare, very massive fall. Understanding the composition, mechanical properties, and orbit of this body will assist NASA in understanding the threat of large meteorite falls to Earth. Timely recovery is key because meteorites typically are composed of mineralogy that has not been exposed to terrestrial water and oxygen, and so they tend to degrade rapidly upon fall to Earth. The oldest terrestrial residence age for a meteorite is on the order of 1 million years, for a meteorite recovered from extended cold storage in Antarctica. For meteorites that land in temperate climes, they can be expected to degrade much faster and are generally destroyed in a matter of thousands of years. Meteorites on the seafloor have never been recovered before, as exposure to salt water will degrade them far faster than any temperature, land-based environment. Recovery of these meteorites should occur as soon as possible to preserve their scientific utility. Local news reporting of the boldie: http://q13fox.com/2018/03/08/nasa-says-fireball-that-shook-washington-coast-about-the-size-of-minivan/ The images below are of meteorites collected by NASA from past falls (courtesy of Dr. Marc Fries). Now, join us in our quest to find some new ones on the seafloor! *These values have been updated from the previous figures of 15.5 metric tons, 98 kg and 40 cm due to recalculations based on further radar analysis.
A group of researchers from different institutions have joint efforts to study the collapse of the underwater macroalgal forests and the expansion of barrens. In particular, we are interested in understanding what characterises these new barrens in order to isolate the factors that determine their creation. We also believe that monitoring already existing deserts is essential to prevent and predict the creation of new barrens along the coastline and will help us evaluate the possibilities of recovering lost underwater forests. We have launched a citizen science project to spot barrens worldwide. We combine different technologies to detect, measure and monitor the hidden deserts from flying and underwater drones to snorkel and SCUBA diving.
Our research, in the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia, Canada seeks to aid in uniting ecological science and Indigenous knowledge towards achieving conservation goals and national recognition of Indigenous management rights. As part of the Central Coast Rockfish project, I partnered with Dr. Natalie Ban at the University of Victoria, Dr. Alejandro Frid, and the combined force of the Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance (CCIRA), alongside the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais, Heiltsuk, Nuxalk and Wuikinuxv Nations, to explore the traditional ecological knowledge of First Nation fishers and knowledge-holders, and assisted in on-going ecological surveys. Together, we showcased the power of Indigenous knowledge to fill gaps in scientific data which limited conservation of the species, and learned about historical changes to populations of important marine resources. Together, we also worked to inform management of Yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) and Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) in BC. In 2017, I continued my research, partnerships, and adventure in the Great Bear Rainforest when I joined Dr. Chris Darimont’s Applied Conservation Science Lab. While in its preliminary stages, our new project seeks to better understand the way humans make decisions about the environment, inform conservation of endangered species and ecosystems of the Great Bear Rainforest, and uphold Indigenous knowledge and proprietary management rights. My work is supported first and foremost by Central Coast First Nations and empowered by their knowledge, vision, and collaboration. It is additionally sustained by funding through the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and (formerly) The Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) of Canada. I am of course supported by the tireless work of my many academic collaborators, friends, family, and colleagues. My research is reinvigorated daily by my experiences in the beautiful world that is BC’s Central Coast and Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest.
Before coming to Greece, our two main goals were set: 1) install independent and autonomous camera systems in two different caves, to monitor the comings and goings of monk seals. They are both up and running, and have been fully autonomous for the past 4 days. We are now monitoring their evolution, along with our scientific partners: MOm, Archipelagos and Fiskardo Divers 2) actually find specimens of monk seals (the most endangered species of marine mammals !), filming and photographing them from the land, the water and the air. Over the past 48 hours, we were able to photograph 3 if not 4 different seals while testing new ways of using the aerial drone for that matter. The results are absolutely stunning (here are a few examples), and these images will help to raise awareness on the Mediterranean monk seal's dire situation.
An international, multidisciplinary group of scientists, photographers, film makers, divers, and ROV operators will meet in Lima, Peru, in late August 2018. The main goals are to highlight the area as a potential site for marine research and future expeditions, and promote collaborations between international and Peruvian scientists. On this trip we will dive in designated spots and will explore different marine communities to obtain a broad view of the biodiversity and uniqueness of the area. We will explore the Tropical-Cold Transition Zone, an area within the Hope Spot, where warm and cold water currents collide and mix with one of the largest up welling systems in the world. The general area is a largely unexplored tropical sea rich in nutrients, endemic species, and biodiversity. August-September have some of the most favourable water conditions and offer high probability of spotting the largest number of species in the area including sharks, manta rays, tuna, marlin, Humboldt penguin, whales, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, and many marine bird species. The Tropical Pacific Sea of Peru Hope Spot is comprised of four distinct areas. On this trip we plan on visiting at least three of them, El Ńuro, Punta Sal Reefs, and either Foca Island or Mancora's Bank, which is the farthest point of the four. Currently we plan to meet on August 28 in Lima before flying to northern Peru the following day and stay until the 2nd of September. Stay tuned for more updates. Dominik images by Yuri Hooker
Located near the west end of Catalina Island, the Pennington Marine Science Center's mission is to provide education, promote exploration and inspire the conservation of marine ecosystems around Catalina Island. In this expedition, using the Trident ROV we seek to survey and explore reefs located between 130 to 400 feet at the lower end of the photic zone. Very little is known about these reefs and how they are affected by the presence or absence of Marine Protected Areas which have been created to provide refuge for species of fish and invertebrates allowing them to reproduce and repopulate surrounding areas. The Lion Head to Arrow Point is an important MPA whose impact we wish to assess and document.