Find Expeditions Start an Expedition About Open Explorer

Exploration is for everyone

Follow the world’s explorers and start your own expedition
Get Started

Hunting for underwater meteorites

Teens in Chicago are on a quest to find a meteorite in Lake Michigan
Learn more

Exploring the most remote rivers in Angola

Follow the mission to protect sub-saharan Africa’s last pristine wetland

Learn more
(swipe left or right for more)
(swipe left or right for more)
Tahiti, French Polynesia, Jun 19 2018

South Pacific Stories: Modern culture in French Polynesia

Recent Observations

Anyone know how to “Wrasse proof” a cage? Because I need it. We all know life is multifaceted and complex, it turns out infestors and their feather star hosts aren’t immune to this. Recently, shrimp and squat lobsters have been mysteriously disappearing from our cages. Nothing to worry it’s just a few individuals, it’s not detrimental to our experiment. But still we’re scientist (detectives?) so we feel compelled to solve this case. This week we had a momentary stroke of genius while thinking of our results and concurrently watching fish darting in and out of our cage. Our latest results tell us infestors show high fidelity to their host - they never leave their feather star, when moved they return quickly. After a brief literary investigation, we find out one fish in particular, a floral wrasse, happens to feed on small crustaceans (like our shrimp and squat lobsters)! Mystery has been solved but the problem persists and the wrasse continue to dine at our catered buffet.

For its last few days in Mozambique, the team of divers if focusing on a specific piece of reef. Along the main pass to access the bay, this precise zone has been the responsible for many wrecks, according to the dominant winds. Once underwater, the predictions are confirmed by many objects dating back several centuries.

Our student ambassadors from the Universidad de Oriente (UNO) in Yucatan, Mexico have been helping us with our photovoice activities. Our UNO students worked to translate descriptions in both Spanish and Maya of photos our segundaria (middle school) students have been taking. Students take photos of things related to cenotes that are meaningful to them. In the image below a student took a picture of contamination in their town's cenote and talked to us about the image. The student's silhouette can be seen in the image. The English, Spanish and Maya descriptions of the image are below: English: In this photograph we encounter the silhouette of a young girl who is observing trash on the green ground, this trash is the same trash that forms part of the contamination that the principal cenote in the town suffers from. Our perception (provided by the image) is that this indicates the preoccupation the children have for preserving this natural site. Even though they are young, it appears to bother them to see the garbage surrounding the cenote. They seem concerned that we should avoid and reduce the pollution that nature has suffered. Spanish: En esta fotografia podemos encontrar la silueta de una nina que esta observando la basura en el suelo verde, esta basura misma que forma parte de la contaminacion que sufre el cenote principal de su comunidad y nuestra percepcion es aquella que indica la preocupacion de los ninos por preservar este sitio natural, aun a su corta edad a ellos les incomoda ver el basurero en el que se han convertido los alrededores de esta Fuente de agua y les surge una preocupacion por evitar y reducer la contaminacion que la naturaleza ha sufrido Maya: Tela ju beyta in ilkon bix yanik juntuul ch’u’upal tan in yilik bis yanik le sojol te lumo’ , le sojola’ tan u k’askunsik le ts’o’onot yan tu kajalo’obo, ba’ax tin ilone’, le ch’u’upalaloba ku tukliko’ob ba’ax ka’abet u betko’ob tial u kanantko’ob. Le ch’upalalo’oba keex chichno’ob ku na’atko’ob, ma ka’abet u pulko’ob sojol te tso’onoto tumen u ku’uchi tu’ux ku ch’ako’ob ja’, le metik ku yako’ob k’a’abet u kanantko’ob yo’olal mu p’aata jump’eel kuuchi tu’ux ku ts’a’akajal sojol.

Getting ready for field work is no easy feat, especially when you kick of a 10-day expedition at 4 o’clock in the morning. But that’s just what the Edwards Lab, accompanied by Dr. Ju-Hyoung Kim from Korea, did in the pre-dawn humidity on July 10th. After doing our final checks to make sure all of our equipment was properly stowed, we piled into the lab’s suburban, 21ft dive boat in tow, and headed from San Diego to San Pedro. At around 6:30am we met up with Dr. Diana Steller and another graduate student from Moss Landing Marine Labs (MLML) at the Southern California Marine Institute. There we loaded our gear onto USC’s Miss Christy, the small mainland-Catalina ferry, and prepared to cross the water to Catalina Island. During the summers of 2016 and 2017 the Edwards Lab, along with the Konar Lab from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, studied productivity in kelp forests along the Aleutian Archipelago. This time we’re doing a similar study in another kind of algal-dominated community: rhodolith beds. Rhodoliths (rhodo meaning “rose”, but in this case “red algae” and lith meaning “rock”) are rock-like “balls” of coralline red algae that can form massive beds on soft sediments in clear water. These little “tumble weeds of the sea”, as PhD candidate Scott Gabara calls them, can support a rich diversity of marine organisms in nearshore environments (Gabara 2018). While kelp forests dominate temperate waters on rocky reefs, rhodolith beds thrive in sandy habitats, especially in protected sandy coves. Which, as it turns out, is an excellent place to establish a mooring field for boats. These moorings, where boats tie up overnight, are anchored to the ocean floor (known as the benthos) by heavy chains and massive concrete blocks. Scientists have known for a long time that these mooring chains can crush rhodoliths, turning the once vibrant beds into coralline rubble patches. Scott, who did his Masters on rhodolith beds with Dr. Steller, aka Di, at MLML, showed that benthic diversity is significantly greater inside the beds than outside. Which brings us to the purpose of this first of four expeditions to Catalina Island. In conjunction with Dr. Steller and several graduate students from MLML, the Edwards Lab plans on repeating our Collapsible Benthic Incubation Tent (CBIT) experiments inside and outside of rhodolith beds so we can finally understand just how productive these rolling red communities are. Di will be leading SCUBA surveys for diversity, and overall rhodolith community structure, while Ju-Hyoung will be conducting incubation experiments in the lab on individual rhodoliths, and the marine organisms that make their home among the algae. Our base of operations is USC’s Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, located adjacent to Two Harbors on the west end of Catalina. We’ve got two boats, the 21ft Stillwater Cove, and the 12ft inflatable Kenner (last seen in the Aleutians), 10 scientists and 10 days to learn as much as we can about rhodolith beds, the communities they support, and the consequences of their loss. Be sure to follow along for more rhodolith-related action!

Sea turtle baby's heading to sea, Sea Turtle Program-Bangladesh by Marinelife Alliance

My expedition is about a week away. Today's goal is to test pack my gear. My target is to make this trip with one bookbag and a carryon duffle. Half of the expedition will be trekking, meaning I will be carrying my things. I will have the benefit of gear drop-offs, meaning I can elect to have some of my things "meet me" at my checkpoints each day. I will be taking full advantage of this, but at the same time, any tech that I am taking, I will be most comfortable on my person rather than left at checkpoints. There is also the difference in regulations from US flights and the one I will take to get into our first checkpoint to the jungle. I do not want to the be one that has "too much" or "too heavy" luggage and causes an issue. There is also the fact that you need a lot less than you think. When people travel, I think they tend to take a lot more convenience items than are truly necessary. Other than this part of mental preparation, I have also been "google map stalking" the areas I am trekking. I often do this before I travel somewhere I have never been so I feel like I know the area a bit before arriving. As I have been scoping the areas I will be trekking, I thought on multiple occasions about how incredibly lucky I am to have this access to technology and information. I have done a lot of thinking about early explorers, or even those twenty years ago. They did not have this insight, and oftentimes, they were traversing into great unknowns. There is beauty in both situations. Thus far, I have spent a lot of time briefing you about the first two weeks of my expedition, leaving you a bit in the air about the final two weeks. This is partly on purpose; there is a lot I do not know about the jungle and rainforest portion of this expedition. Being a field science excursion means that the plans tend to be a bit more loose, allowing for flexibility in locations. There are also protocols in collecting and analyzing data, drawing conclusions based on the data and sharing the information with the public. Information collected may not be allowed for immediate release or press coverage. Along with that, the specifics on what is being collected, locations of data collection, and other such details may not be immediately released. I am certain there will be plenty I can immediately share with you all, and in time, most if not all will be shareable. I greatly look forward to that time. What I can share now, is that we are focusing on thermal river systems of the Peruvian Amazon. Thermal river systems are large bodies of flowing water sustaining high temperatures. Conditions to achieve this are easier to find near volcanic sites; the Shanay Timpishka is 700km away from the nearest volcanic activity. This is one reason it is pretty incredible. Another reason is that it is massive. What we currently know is that this particular thermal river is a fault fed hot spring with an incredible myth attached. You see, myths and folklore are often created with the goal of explaining something that is a "mystery". I love this connection between science, literature, and humankind's natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge. In every culture, there are collections of myths and folktales all with the purpose of explaining a natural phenomenon. One thing I love to talk with students about is how we can take these stories and "science-splain" them. That is, we can use what we know about the world through science to explain what it is the story is based upon. I am excited to learn more stories on expedition, bring them to students and teachers, and help make the connections to science and natural curiosity of the world. All of my experiences and what I learn on this expedition will be used to create cross-curricular lessons, activities, and curricula for teachers and students worldwide. It will be hosted on The Boiling River Project's website. For even MORE information about thermal river systems and the nonprofit with whom I am partnering to create educational materials, please visit Photo Credit: Andres Ruzo

I am very sorry for the delayed update, on the field connection was not always available. Now that I'll be staying in the capital for a couple of days I'll be updating the exploration and giving you a very detailed description of the amazing things we encountered! First of all, I want to thank Lush Cosmetics North America for making this trip happening as well as the crew from the Sharkwater, and the Fins Attached organization. Day 1, July 4rd: El Jobo El Jobo is a small community in northern Costa Rica, here the Equipo Tora-Carey ( has been working on foraging grounds and nesting beaches of Pacific green turtles and Hawksbill turtles. We joined them as we went diving around the site, due to bad visibility we were not able to catch any turtles for our research, even though we did encounter a big female green sea turtle during our test dive. Tomorrow we will go snorkeling with the locals at a site were sea turtles are frecuently caught as part of the team's research. Hopefully we will have the chance to find hawksbill sea turtles!!

We placed a camera trap alng a dense forest pathway, and laced it with Wilddog poop we found on the road earlier that day (after we took a sample for genetic analysis, of course)... and this is what we got! Alpha of the Wilddog Pack approached the camera, she's very thin and clearly lactating, which means she has just recently dropped her pups.

On the first day of Ad Astra Academy, students are introduced to the key concepts and tools used by scientists in the real world. Through hands-on activities, they participate in the scientific method to test a hypothesis by collecting and analyzing data. Students leave the classroom to search for signs of past and present life in the natural environment. It's important to allow students to explore freely, but also to guide their exploration toward testable hypotheses. For example, is sunlight a necessary ingredient for life? What other energy sources could organisms use? How is plant growth affected by access to nutrients, or how long can life survive without water? Using a research notebook, students investigate habitability (past and present) through the study of form, activity, and environment.

BULA BULA BULA!!!Stepping on the first plane means only one thing - The Great Nautilus Egg Hunt has begun! Although there are still hours of flying (currently over Cheyenne, Wyoming), changing planes, changing airports, layovers, checking bags, and sleeping with a neck pillow, this is the time I use to pose questions to myself and our team about the upcoming expedition, like... Where do we purchase bait? What do we do if the weather changes, for the worse? Did anyone bring extra sunscreen? Who wants to take charge of our social media on the trip? What happens if we don't see any nautiluses at our first site? What could be complications with the remote operated vehicle? But perhaps most importantly, I now start my field work superstitions. First one is that I don't shaver while in the field. Second, I like to have sour patch kids on hand. Third, I only wear sandals after touching down. Fourth, I set time aside, somehow, to reflect and enjoy every moment of the expedition. Fifth, I have a cigar on the last day. Moce!

Greetings Enthusiasts!Another catch-up post. On July 30th, we managed to return to Indian lake, in Somerset County, PA. We needed to get back into the quarry, and we did. However, we hit the end of our 25m tether long before the bottom, as we were deploying off an island ans not directly over the trench. Some interesting bits in the video. Certainly have fish of various types, and corroding metal pole protruding from the stone and mud. We took a look at the island support stones as well. We also took some time to record hydrophone data. As you can imagine, engine/prop screw noise was dominant. This is unprocessed raw feed, so it's noisy.

Meet the 2018 Dive Team! These eleven divers - one of our biggest teams yet as the PISCO program at UCSB turns 20 - were selected to take sound scientific data underwater. Led by staff researchers Avrey Parsons-Field and Katie Davis, divers Keegan Bell, Brittany Tholan, and Chris Honeyman return for their third seasons, Lindsey Kraemer and Jake Eisaguirre return for their second, and interns Amanda Rivard, Cece Martin, Jade Zounes, and Luca Silva are welcomed to the team. Over the course of the summer, we'll be posting diver profiles to introduce each individual. It may take a mix of experience levels to make a dive team, but it takes an equal amount of enthusiasm. Morale is high! PHOTOS: (1) The whole team on the RV Garibaldi (Photo by Chuck Dobbins), (2) Chris Honeyman off-gases on his safety stop (Photo by Brittany Tholan), (3) Jake Eisaguirre celebrates America by working on the Fourth of July (Photo by Chris Honeyman), (4) The Gang goes SCUBA diving (Photo by Chuck Dobbins).

Wreck of Sigurjón Arnlaugsson (+1990) In July 2015 we were testing camera module payload on a GAVIA AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) We were close to a shipwreck of an old troller, Sigurjon Arnlaugsson. Sigurjon Arnlaugsson HF210 was built as a fishing trawler in Norway in 1960. He had many names before he got his name Sigurjón. Sigurjón Arnlaugsson was taken out of use in 1990 and was sanked as a training dive site for search and rescue teams. The wreck lies in 25 meters depth and stands upright. Visibility is most often not good or even very bad. The sonar images was taken with 600 kHz frequency.

The Return of Trident NOAA swashbuckled* our robot from its captors who had recently captured it from Davy Jones' Locker! It arrived by post this morn! Our crew rejoices! Stay tuned to see if we can resurrect our marooned explorer's sea legs! *Read swash bucked as "kindly negotiated its return"

Let the Professional handle this one...our Arctic Trifecta at Southern Hinlopen Strait / Torellneset I am going to urge you to read the Daily Expedition Report for this day, completed by naturalist and photo instructor Steve Morello, who also happened to be my mentor on the ship. Steve captures this day much more eloquently than I ever could. But, you will see photos from this day on my Where am I in the World post (polar bear and walrus), in addition to the ones below. If you read the Daily Expedition Report, you will see there were 12 polar bears on the ice shelf (2 in the photo). We viewed Austfonna, the third largest ice cap in the world (photo)

ROVs: Where They’re Headed For this post our interns focused what they think about mini-class ROV technology Working as interns for Oceans Research, we are introduced to various ongoing research projects. One being the OpenRov project that looks at fish assemblages in coastal reef areas. This study utilizes the relatively new, and quickly growing technology known as Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV). After practicing our piloting skills in a nearby shallow reef-like area in Mossel Bay, we were able to reflect on how this technology might be further used to maximize its potential. One of the outstanding characteristics of this technology is its flexibility to be used in a number of different studies with a multitude of objectives. That being said, it seems that no one has really pinned down a specific area of interest to help find the technology’s niche in the research world. It was amazing to see how much information we gathered from just a few minutes of recorded footage while traveling along a transect only 25 meters long. Who knows what else can be discovered when applying this rapidly improving technology to different areas of study. Matt, Jordan & Josie

Following the Trade Winds to KiribatiNate Johnson, Amherst College Hello Everyone! My name is Nate Johnson and I'm here to bring you the fourth installment in the S-281 blog. For several days now, we've been able to cruise along the trade winds towards Kiribati, and today we just crossed the line marking 1000 nautical miles to PIPA. If all goes well, we should cross the Marine Protected Area's borders in one week! The sun continues to arc behind mostly cloudy skies, although that offers little respite from the heat, and the layers of sunscreen continue to pile up. Winds have started to pick up; forcing us to pull in some of the main sail, and with this change the boat has been running smoothly at 7-8 knots heading 200°, slightly southwest. As the bouts of seasickness have all but passed for the whole crew, and our sea legs have gotten under us, we have been able to sink into a consistent schedule of scientific deployments. I have been able to work on two of these so far, both including a hydrocast, which collects water samples from a carousel that gets dropped down to ~600m and a Neuston tow, which collects fish larvae, plankton and all kinds of biomass. Unfortunately, we have also been picking up a significant amount of plastic. This has not, however, dulled the excitement of the deploying crews. The evening deployments are a sight out of Fantasia, as bright blue flashes emanate from the bioluminescent plankton washing out of our net. This morning's deployment, made challenging by the heavy winds and hefty swells, was no less exciting. As we pulled back the net and peered into the collecting and saw endless wriggling copepods, flying fish and anchovy larvae, our 2nd scientist, Gabo, nearly grabbed a Portuguese Man o' War, a gelatinous organism teeming with excruciatingly painful stinging cells. Luckily, her vigilance and experience paid off and she was able to spot it and end any possibility of a painful end. As we continue to run twice daily deployments, our data set will fill out and state of PIPA in 2018 will begin to paint itself before us. As we have started to grow accustom to the schedule, the rest of the students and I have begun to explore ways to enjoy this 134' beauty, instead of sleeping the hours away in between watches. My watch (C watch) had the morning shift today, and after being relieved by A watch at 13:00, we decided to spend the hour and a half break before class lounging in the bowsprit. For those of you who don't know, the bowsprit is a ~12ft hefty steel beam that extends off the bow of the ship and which houses the two forward-most sails on the Seamans, the Jib, Jib tops'l and their accompanying lines. Underneath this beam is a precarious bundle of netting that extends about 4ft out to either side, just wide enough for two people to lay side-by-side. Those of us who didn't retire to our bunks below deck were able to climb out and laze in the net, mere feet above the rolling seas beneath us. The cool sea breeze was a welcome departure from the hot, tiring work on deck. The serenity of the moment was only occasionally punctuated with an anxiety-inducing (especially considering I had my Nikon DSLR in hand) roll over a particularly large swell. As we sail ever closer to PIPA, these moments of calmness and beauty will certainly only continue.

One of my favorite things about being a professor is having the honor and opportunity to teach and train the next generation. Here in Tarawa, we don't have time to run a full course or degree program, but we gave a seminar at the University of the South Pacific in Tarawa, and have been running hands-on workshops on deep-sea biology, bathymetry, and deep-sea technology. It's been a ton of fun, and we've made a lot of wonderful friends during this workshop! However, the education has definitely been in both directions. For example, Brian and I got the chance to try out some new potential deep-sea platforms, the classic Pacific outrigger canoe (yes, think "Moana"). It was awesome, but definitely takes some finesse to maneuver! We have also had to try our hand at pronouncing many deep sea species in Kiribati language, which is not so easy. Languages are definitely not my strong point, I'm sorry to say. Additionally, we have quickly learned that our Kiribati colleagues are awesome at tying knots, and have quite a lot to teach us about reading the waves, and navigating at sea. One of the coolest things we noticed while offshore was the reflection of the turquoise blue lagoon in the clouds above... we don't have a photo that does it justice, so you'll just have to imagine it. Once you see it, you can't unsee it - it's very striking. Ancient pacific voyagers used cloud color as one of their many tricks to detect islands, and now we can understand why! It's pretty amazing to be out here, in the equatorial Pacific, trading ocean knowledge with our i-Kiribati friends. For a country that created the worlds first deepwater MPA (the Phoenix Islands Protected Area), this moment feels especially sweet, and exactly where we want to be. Randi and Brian

Prep Time Part Two Researcher prep Each team member has plenty of preparation to do on their end, and with an international team hailing from Alaska, Japan, Russia, and France, it will be interesting to learn each researcher's priorities. Alexis Will is my partner in this process, as well as the Principal Researcher. She works as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow between the National Institute of Polar Research in Japan and the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. Although she admits she can be a "last-minute person", she seems pretty busy. Researcher Tasks Some of her prep tasks include the following: 1.Ensure research is approved by the University's Animal Care and Use Committee. 2.Ensure that any new team member (such as myself!) completes required online classes for animal handling regulations. 3.Secure lodging, which in this case, will be renting a house from a local family. Personal space will be at a premium, all part of the adventure and yet more impetus to pack light. 4.Field Food! Since we will be in a remote island village, feeding a team of folks for several weeks can be a challenge. *Draw up a list for feedback/ requests from the team *Decide where to purchase items *Plan timing of food delivery to the island *Some food is stored on the island from last year, so we won't starve, but mail can be pretty unpredictable (Apparently it took one box 5 weeks to get to the island last year! *All of the food planning requires some research on shipping methods and shopping options which can be pretty stressful. If your team isn't fed and happy, well, you can guess how that would go! 5.Once those logistics are in place, she gets busy making and printing maps, packing gear, purchasing supplies in town, printing out field note books...lots of what she calls "small things", but they're all new to me, so I say they're pretty big things. 6.PLUS, with me joining the team, she's answering my questions, helping me with a packing list, and sending out research articles! Thanks, Alexis! The more preparation done in advance, the better. It's expensive to conduct research, especially in a remote location, so the goal is to hit the ground running! Packing list? We'll be, in essence, "Glamping in Savoonga", so rain gear, layers, and more layers rule the day. Plenty of different types of gloves, since it will be cold, wet, and windy while we're capturing and handling birds. Did I mention layers? Shopping For those who've asked me about shopping, what I know is that there's a single store in Savoonga and cash is best since the card machine at the store doesn't always work. (Also, prices can be triple that of the mainland, and the range of items can be slim, so plan ahead!) Local artists, industrious in nature, sell their wares, too, and since Savoonga is the Walrus Capital of the World, it's home to some of the best ivory carvers in the world. On the Homefront There's also family prep and animal logistics at home. We are all trying to bank some time with our loved ones, and one of the things I've done to try and remind my 12 year old that I'll be home soon is create a calendar with appointments, lessons, camp, and notes. Some of his favorite candy is included, along with some surprise cards and small goodies. The trickiest challenge is leaving family, but at the same time, I imagine it's extra impetus to maximize every minute away. What other questions do you have?

Just off the phone with colleagues from our MPA Collaborative in Monterey County, discussing ideas and protocols we'd like to implement when the Trident ROV arrives. We are all excited for its arrival and to be able to share the amazing underwater world with students from California and beyond. Serendipity plays a huge role in what is discovered underwater and the following video attests to this. Taken a little while back with a GoPro HERO 4 attached to a PVC pipe and tethered to a cord while sitting on a kayak. It wasn't until I got back to land that I saw the footage I captured. Looking forward to what we'll discover with the Trident!

The idea for this exploration grew out of a sailboat. Her name is Windfall II and the thought of buying her started when I realized I was consistently putting more than half of my paycheck to rent each month to live in Los Angeles. When I realized I could live smaller, simpler, cheaper and stay in SoCal, I bought a boat. After moving in, I quickly found out there were many other people doing the same thing. Housing was not just a problem for me but for most of the neighbors on my dock. From there I learned people were living alternatively outside of the marina in their RVs, cars, back houses, garages etc. all throughout California. I was then on a mission to learn about other people's stories on why they lived where they lived and how they were making it work. Today, housing is a major problem. With over a decade of not building enough housing or setting up correct zoning procedures, we are now struggling to house our residents. Without a single county with sufficient affordable housing across all income levels, it is my goal to reveal the realities of the housing crisis by fostering deeper and more substantive conversations with residents and policymakers.

In order to make our project happen, we need to get really good at driving and fixing these little robots. With that in mind Erin Derrington, Live Ocean board member and fellow facilitator, flew down from Saipan for the weekend so we could do some test dives. We started out with some propeller repair, since one of my props flew off at the DAWR event; fortunately it was inside a kiddie pool so I had no trouble retrieving it. I think for future builds I will put a little locktight on those bad boys.She brought a ROV down with her, the goal was for them to run together and get video of each other. We spent a few hours trying to figure out how to get the chrome book to save video from the stream. Despite trying several chrome book apps, google hangouts, and YouTube Live, we were unable to get it to work. They do have great battery life, though! My own laptop will only run the robot and the video software for about 45 minutes. Undeterred, we headed out to Piti for a test dive at one of our student sites, the outflow from the Piti powerplant. It was pretty uneventful until we got our wires crossed, literally. Erin was running tether for me, and got her tether too close to the computer running the other bot. Suddenly, I was controlling her bot, which was spinning its propellers on land. I could dive, move left and right, but only on the WRONG robot. I couldn’t control mine at all, we had to power cycle both bots to straighten things out. We also had a few issues with random power loss, and some buoyancy issues. We recovered some marine debris (including the wheel hub pictured in the video) and learned a lot. Off to the deep dive, tomorrow!

The first session of the #K2K Gaborone Leg was a success as we gathered in Village Sound Studio with Tomeletso Sereetsi and Gaone Rantlhoiwa to concoct musical ideas and bond through mutual forms of self-expression. We were blessed by our new friend Leroy who gifted us his time, studio, engineering skills and drum prowess. His addition to the writing and brainstorming process was crucial! We can't wait to move forward and exchange more musical conversation with these talented individuals. 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic @ Gaborone, Botswana

Field Session Internet was spotty in the field so these entries are ex post facto. Rather than create a long single post with everything I will roll them out in chunks. I have invited the educators to contribute their experiences as well. I'm keen to see what they say. Tuesday The day started out overcast and gray with rain predicted for later. Regardless, we loaded up and departed pretty close to our target departure time of 8 am. We were in a caravan of 6 cars, a necessity since departure times and destinations after the field session varied. Before entering the park we convened just outside because of course we got separated en route. Fortunately, we did not have long to wait until we were all there. Our research permit got all of us in and we traveled on to our first stop the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. The day had cleared off; blue sky and sun and clouds greeted us. I was glad because first, I wanted the full on postcard, technicolor experience for the educators and second, every photon of solar energy would dry things out that much more quickly. We were met at the Visitor Center by Ranger Stacy, the director of supervisory education (meaning she works with kids and teachers), toured the paleontology lab, and had a short presentation by Stacy outdoors. We didn't have time to enjoy the displays, the movie or book store because we wanted to go to the Fossil Talk, about a 20 minute drive down the road. The Fossil Talk is as much about the geology as it is about the fossils. The Parks geology--and boy does it have geology--is dramatic. The visible layers start with the inland seas 75 million years ago and end with the deposition of eroded material from the Black Hills 30 million years ago. We traveled on after the Fossil Talk to the Conata Basin picnic area where we had lunch. While our cook Ginny assembled the fixings, we wandered over to the Pig Dig. This was our first up close encounter with the Badlands soil. We were quickly schooled in its clay properties thanks to the rain from the night before . After lunch it was on to the campsite. The Sage Creek Rim road was closed due to the recent rains which meant going out to Wall and then backtracking along another road. Once were back in the park we saw the bison herd, the mothers and cinnamon colored calves. That was a photo stop. The road in that section of the park was soft around the edges but otherwise passable. Even the road into the campground itself was fine. Not surprising given the previous night's rain, the campground was mostly empty. Within moments of our arrival in camp, Dr. Amanda Bachmann pulled in. She was leading our entomology survey. But work before play so our first task was to set up camp and help Ginny, the cook, set up the kitchen. The skies were far from clear and between the forecast calling for thunderstorms and the gathering gray clouds I wanted to make sure we weren't doing this work in the rain. I've set up camp in the rain before and to me it always feel like once something is wet it never really dries out. Camp up, kitchen started and it was out to a nearby field to sample for arthropods. With our extremely intermittent access to service we would wait to upload our observations to iNaturalist. The field we chose to sample was selected more for its proximity than any sign that it would yield interesting observations. There were a few flowering plants but since the skies were looking gray I wasn't comfortable hiking out any distance. We assembled ourselves, got our nets and bug jars and dispersed. Next up: Arthropod Sampling

We're excited to introduce the mesophotic realm to the rest of the world! Ultimately, we aim to bring the unique and overlooked habitats that exist at mesophotic depths to the front line where science and society collide. Mesophotic ecosystems are found beyond recreational diving limits (deeper than 30m) but shallower than 150m. Buffered from direct and indirect anthropogenic disturbances by depth, these systems are thought to act as an important reservoir of recruits for coral and fish populations in shallow-water systems. In spite of this proposed role, our current understanding of mesophotic systems fall short of the scientific breakthroughs made for their neighboring deep and shallow-water counterparts. We currently lack baseline information about the occurrence, ecology, and potential for these mesophotic environments to influence patterns of shallow-water reef persistence through larval, genetic, and population connectivity. I wish to directly address this knowledge gap by identifying ecological patterns across a depth gradient and at a wider geographic scale to determine the role that mesophotic ecosystems play in mitigating the stress that shallower habitats face today. The nature of the video data collected with OpenROV during our research activities will help us showcase the organisms that exist at these dark and foreboding depths, and reveal their life giving vitality. Together we can fuel a crucial reform of the current societal outlook on mesophotic ecosystems with a view to changing our erstwhile notion to “out of sight, but no longer out of mind.”

Students who participated in the OpenROV program will collaborate to design an expedition. Stay tuned.

After a week of intense new learning experiences, it was time for the big day: the twenty girls were now ready to make that long-anticipated call to a key member of NASA’s HiRISE instrument team and ask for images of Mars. HiRISE is the most advanced camera currently orbiting the Red Planet – it can detect objects the size of a basketball, and has seen dust devils, landslides, and rover landings during its 11 years of illustrious service. But for the students of Dipshikha to join the exploratory fun, there was a catch! Because thousands of scientists, engineers, and students around the world frequently request their own images, there’s a lot of competition for the camera’s time. This meant that the girls would need to come up with strong scientific reasoning to make the case that their sites would improve our understanding of Mars. Over the past few days, the students had developed the skills to analyze Google Earth and Google Mars. They virtually explored Mars and zoomed in on satellite images of Earth, astonished to discover places they had heard of but never seen. From scrolling around their local neighborhoods, to London, Saudi Arabia, and Antarctica, they were cruising far and wide! At the microscale, the girls saw new forms of life when studying field trip samples - leaves, sand grains, or murky water - under the microscopes. In this way, the microscopes extended their senses on field trips, just as spacecraft or robots do on other planets. Back on Mars, each of the four groups had selected two target sites for imaging, mostly based on the criteria of habitability: could there have been water in the past? Are those bright patches ice, or the sun’s glare? What might have caused the channels to form? To build a set of reference points, the class spent part of the week experimenting with how landforms are made, using sand, water, wind, and any other natural phenomenon that might have played a role on Mars. With the coordinates written down and their scientific justification in hand, the four teams went up and pitched their proposed sites to the HiRISE team. Among the requests were the base of a volcanic cliff, a sinuous channel network, mysterious lines near the north pole, and the dark edge of a crater. Our entire crew could not have been any prouder of the girls, given their transformation into world-class space explorers in just a few days! Nonetheless, the HiRISE images were not a done deal – any given request can take months to acquire, if they fit the mission’s current priorities in the first place. So for now, we all crossed our fingers and hoped for the best… [Dipshikha school is geographically isolated, and telecommunications infrastructure – to enable a long, stable Skype call with NASA – was lacking. We are grateful to Grameenphone, Bangladesh’s largest telecommunications company, for providing temporary mobile network for our meetings across the world to happen.]

The E/V Nautilus is at the site of the meteorite fall and it's less than an hour until we send the ROV Hercules to the seafloor to look for meteorites! Join us live on! Images, courtesy of OET/NautilusLive show special tools used by the ROV Hercules to scoop, slurp and magnetically pick up prospective cosmic materials.

FIELD NOTES FROM THE ANCIENT FOREST, PART II Reports from Dan and Ben say the sampling went smoothly, which is as good as it gets when it comes to field science in “rather Icelandic” conditions. They cut dozens of cross-sections from the ancient trees. “Because the standing dead trees in the buried forest were completely entombed in glacial outwash," Ben wrote "the outer divots and inner pockets of logs were stuffed with sand and gravel.” The cutting quickly wore down several chainsaw chains that they’d brought for backup. Phillip and Ben spent hours twisting increment borers into live trees on the moraine to collect samples of the core—from the outermost rings to the inner pith. Ben deemed 16-day trip a success. They cored about a hundred living trees from the surrounding area and cut about ninety cross-sections from trees in the ancient forest. Strapping the slabs to external-frame backpacks, Dan, Ben, and Phillip hauled about six hundred pounds of wood down to the beach for pickup on the flight out. In the end, Ben came up with three scientific goals from the treasures taken from the outer coast: First, construct a time series of the rates at which the trees grew and examine their demise toward death. He wants to know whether the patterns of growth and death correspond to any past climatic events. Second, see if (and how) the growth rates of yellow-cedar trees responded to the relatively balmy conditions of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP). “Just like the Little Ice Age,” Ben says, “the Medieval Warm Period was not a monolith over space and time.” Occurring roughly 900-1000 AD, “It was well-pronounced and fairly straightforward in Europe, but the specifics are still being defined elsewhere including the North Pacific.” Dr. Greg Wiles of The College of Wooster Tree Ring Lab calls the MWP a natural warm period relative to today. “Today’s warming is fundamentally different,” due to the influence of our human activity, but how the trees responded during that time might reveal something about how they’ll respond to future conditions. Given the extent of yellow-cedar mortality throughout many parts of southeast Alaska and British Columbia, the species is currently under consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Lastly, Ben wants to determine how the different tree species on the moraine responded to the local cooling and warming as the glacier advanced and retreated in the 19th and 20th centuries. He thinks the historic, localized changes in climate could serve as a test for how these different species may respond to the abrupt climate change expected to come. What does their future in a warming world hold? He’s headed back to the La Perouse forest this week and installing some temperature devices that will collect hourly temperatures for a year. With any luck, we’ll return next summer with results from the wood samples and collect the current those devices for an understanding of the current conditions.

Debrief This is our last post on this expedition. I recorded a conversation with my daughter to gather her thoughts and insights on our journey, and learned that she's fast, and she's strong... The conversation is transcribed below. DAY 8: (4 days post expedition) Listening Location: Traveling through Texas by car Date: Tuesday, 16 June 2018 iNat Project Link: [Open Explorer: Appalachian Trail from Dick’s Creek to Nantahala] Senses: Texas is hot, my kid is on a good path. Quick Q&A ME If you had one thing that sums up the Appalachian Trail what would it be? HER It’s time I get to spend with my Dad, talking and having him listen to me and only me. ME If you had one piece of advice for someone thinking of hiking the AT what would it be? HER Hike with someone. Sharing it means a lot. ME If you had one piece of gear that people really need what would it be? HER Hiking poles ME If you could tell people one thing people wouldn’t expect on the AT what would it be? HER We didn’t really see people hiking, but you always seem to see people at the shelter. ME Lots of people ask us about seeing bears. What about bears, any thoughts? HER We haven’t seen any while hiking the AT, but we’ve seen them in 6 or 7 states, and I’m pretty comfortable knowing what I should do. I don’t think they are a problem if you are safe and prepared. ME What about nature photography and the science part of the hike. We didn't do much of that. HER I guess we didn't. I think I probably just ask you about the stuff we see and you explain it, so I don't stop for the pictures and stuff. I might if I was on my own. ME What about the people you’ve met? HER People have always been really kind and helpful and supportive. We mostly see adults, either couples or friends, and sometimes families, and sometimes a youth group or boy scouts or something. We did see soldiers one time in our first year and it was kind of surprising. ME Do you have any worries or concerns about hikes like that? HER I guess just that something would happen to one of us when we were a long way from a gap or something. ME Why do you go so many miles each day? HER I don’t know. I just like it, and I guess I think I should just keep moving if I’m ever going to get to Maine. ME Can families or other kids hike the AT? HER Of course. Anybody can hike the Appalachian Trail, you just have to have the right mindset. It’s not dangerous or a dead end of something. You can sort of jump on and off and do it in sections like we do, or you can have someone drop you off each day, or do it all at once. It’s just walking. ME Anything else people should know about your hike or their hike on the Appalachian Trail? HER Just like everyone says, hike your own hike. Have fun. Keep going. ME Talk about the last four days for a few minutes… What did you do, what did you see, anything scary, anything super cool. Just sort of give an explanation of life on the Trail through your eyes. HER First Evening On the first night, it was kind of hard because we had been sitting in the car for a long time and rushing to get to the shuttle and then hike to the shelter. It was kind of a hectic way to start. We didn’t talk that first evening, which isn't like us, and I didn’t like that too much. Spending a little much time with my own thoughts wasn’t how I wanted to start the hike. (Full) Day 1 The first full day we hiked about 12 miles and we weren’t doing so well at first. We got a late start and after we stopped for a snack, we hiked for about 30 minutes past the North Carolina/Georgia border and then you suddenly thought you had dropped something, so you backtracked for about 20 minutes or so while I rested. The rest of the day was smooth sailing, and we got the whole 12 miles to the Standing Indian Shelter. We had heard that a bear was really active in the area and we saw some torn up paper and food wrappings when we got there so I was a little worried that it might come back and try to get our food that night. Having that other hiker with a dog was good because the dog might bark to let us know if the bear showed up. It didn't. We also had great cell service there, so I got to talk to my Mom and sister for a while, which always makes me feel better. We also met Carl, who we saw several times on the trail for the next few days. He was a really nice man, but he didn’t make it to his resupply town in time. He ran out of food, so we shared some of ours. Day 2 The next day we went to Long Branch Shelter which was about 16 miles. That was a really long hike for me and my shoulders started hurting late in the day, partly just because of the way the straps we fitting my body. Adjusting my pack and giving you some of my weight helped and they didn't really bother me the rest of the trip. That night we reached the shelter and four very sweet ladies were there travelling in pairs. We got top bunk that night and I liked it because it was really big. Carl showed up later and said he was worried he wasn’t going to make it over Albert Mountain. I really think people who are worried about the trail should think about doing the go-around trail at Albert to get to the shelter. Day 3 Our third full day was over Siler Bald and then trying to make it up and over Wayah. It was mostly a pretty smooth day, and we were hustling to get to Wayah Shelter when the clouds started to form in the middle of the day. When we stopped for our energy-lunch of tortillas and peanut butter with some honey, the thunder started hitting pretty bad. Thank goodness we were right in front of a camping place and we decided to settle in for the night. I was very disappointed we weren’t going to make those last three miles because it made the next day longer. Even with miles and miles of downhill at the end of the hike, I knew that adding three uphill miles in the morning would make it a really, really long day. Oh, and you switched my hammock before this trip and I wasn’t really familiar with the strap so it was a little stressful getting set up before the storms, so I just tied them in knots until you could help. The thunder was pretty loud, so it is probably best that we stopped. Day 4 The next day was our last day and I was really excited to get started. I wanted to get everything packed and get started but breaking camp always takes a while, especially when things are wet. We had 19.3 miles to hike and making it to the top of Wayah Bald was really pretty. The trail led to a parking lot and we sort of lost the white blazes so we just sort of wandered towards the fire tower. The view from up there was gorgeous, and we could see forever, mountain after mountain after mountain. We finally saw a white blaze on the other side of the fire tower and as we got on the trail, a big, fat rabbit jumped right in front of me. I noticed there were a bunch of berries there and the bunny was probably feasting on those berries. We don’t see many mammals on the AT, which is a little different than back home in Austin, where we see deer and other stuff almost every day. We stopped for lunch at Cold Spring Shelter, which is a stream and shelter right on the trail, which is a little different than some shelters, which might be off the trail a couple of hundred yards. We met a group of boys just leaving and after we finished our lunch of tuna, we headed towards Tellico Gap. We met some southbounders on the way who were taking a steep climb uphill and talked with them for a few minutes. We also crossed some people out for a day hike, which is always good because it lets you know you’re not too far from roads or towns or something. We wound up passing the boys we saw at Cold Spring Shelter and then stopped for our next bite at Tellico Gap. We sat on a rock and you started talking to a man in blue jeans who lived there and was supposed to have a meeting there or something. When y'all started talking about fishing, I took a minute to call mom. The man gave us some water and a few rolls of sweet tarts he said came from his wife’s office, she was an insurance agent. He seemed very nice. You told me that the water and candy was an example of something called "trail magic,” which is where people leave or give water, food, snacks or something else on the trail that is useful to hikers. In 100 miles, it was our first experience with trail magic, and it was pretty cool to not have to filter water. From Tellico it was about 2 miles uphill to Wesser Bald, and we went through a large section that looked like it had been set on fire. Lots of trees looked like charcoal and were hollowed out, and it was very pretty to see nature returning with flowers and small plants. Those last few miles up to Wesser Bald were pretty tough. We were tired. It was really pretty up there, a lot like the fire tower at Wayah, with lots of mountains and trees and a lake in the distance. Wesser was the “summit before the plummet” and I felt like running. As we started down, we could see rain around us and we saw a rainbow down below us. We kept heading down and the rain started and it rained for what seemed like a really long time because I was so excited to get to the Nantahala River. It eventually stopped raining and my glasses were all fogged up and I couldn’t get them clear, and we passed the last shelter and could start to hear cars. Dad pulled out his phone to make a little video and then he asked me if I wanted to do it. Reaching the river was a huge achievement because we’d sort of used Nantahala as a goal for the last three years. We wanted a hamburger so bad, our minds blocked out all of that and we talked about a lot of our good memories as we sat next to the river and soaked our feet. I was pretty much in tears about how excited we were to reach our goal. We don’t really have a next goal, so I think we’ll take it slower in the next few years and just see where the trail takes us. But, I like to go lots of miles every day, so we’ll see. My debrief We didn't do anywhere near the amount of iNaturalist I thought we might, but the journey is really about a bigger journey that I have as "Dad." As with most things, I just provide tools that she can engage and explore as she develops. For now, I'm just holding on and enjoying every step. I shared a lot of history through lenses of economics, the environment, human rights, and migration. I know I definitely didn’t tell the complete story of 14,000+ years of human history in four blog entries and had to use many qualifiers, but, as it relates to our hike on the AT, this is the story: The Path: There is more than one path. The path is open to everyone. Prepare for the path. Keep going at your own pace if you want to reach your goal. People: You’ll meet a diverse group of people on the path, and they might have different goals than you. That’s okay. Nature: We’re part of it. Yum: Sloppy-joes might sound better than they really are. Common Sense: “Contact! Contact!” Education: should always be geared towards enlightenment.

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.

As mentioned in an earlier post, we’re using not one but two ROVs! We showed you how ROV Doc Ricketts, the 4000 m-rated vehicle, is recovered through the moonpool of the research vessel in an earlier post. Check out how ROV MiniROV, with its SmartClump, is deployed from the stern of RV Western Flyer using a crane and A-frame in the video below.

Yelloweye Rockfish Project Updates After an incredible summer of long days on the boat with Alejandro Frid and the Kitasoo/Xai'xais, Wuikinuxv, Nuxalk, and Heiltsuk Guardian Watchmen, and nearly 50 interviews with generous, knowledgeable, and welcoming fishers and elders, our 2015 field season is winding to a close. I've learned more than I thought possible throughout this summer's journeys; about the wise, old, giant red rockfish who were such a mystery to science before 2002, the incredible and resilient connection between partnering First Nations and culturally-important marine species, about the power of cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural collaborations, new methods of fishing, and even some lessons in how-not-to-lose underwater towed-video cameras... We've published our findings surrounding Yelloweye rockfish (sometimes known as "red snapper"), species-level changes over the last 60 years, and the power of interweaving Indigenous knowledge and ecological science. Some key take-aways: Yelloweye rockfish size has decreased by over 50% since 1950, according to interview participants. That's a huge deal for species management, given that rockfish size correlates with age, and the oldest (read: largest) fish in the population are the most reproductively successful. Small rockfish likely aren't yet producing any offspring! (They don't give birth until 20-30 years old). Yelloweye rockfish abundance has decreased substantially according to First Nations fishers. Commercial fishing and sports fishing, along with other industrial and climate impacts, were most often cited as to blame. Our suggestion towards improving the precarious state of Yelloweye rockfish in BC's Great Bear Sea is to return fisheries management to local First Nations, who have stewarded resources like Yelloweye rockfish for thousands of years, and have developed modern marine-use strategies to continue such practices.

Please follow our expedition (and ask your friends to join as well) so we can begin our underwater exploration. We need 50 followers for OpenROV to send us a Trident Underwater Drone to start taking video to share. Thank you to OpenROV and Santa Cruz MPA Collaborative for sharing such terrific technology for our investigations. In the meantime, we'll get started by showing you some of the amazing patterns of color and texture found in the intertidal zone near the Seymour Center during a recent low tide. What do you think creates the different colors and textures you see?

Purpose In less than 3 months, Stacy and I will be embarking on our voyage to the Galapagos Islands. This is the first time I've traveled through the lens of an educator formally; although, I suppose I've carried students in my thoughts on all my trips since I became a teacher. But, now I have time to research and gather student input. I'm preparing to make thoughtful curricular connections during the expedition. I grew up as an American expat in Southeast Asia, so I'm very fortunate that travel has always been a big part of my life. I quickly learned that when you step into new cultures and environments, you're challenged; the more you travel, the more you grow. It's one thing to tell my first graders to be brave, curious, and global-minded; it's another to model this myself. I hope my expedition encourages students to lean into, not away from, the discomfort of novel places, practices, problems, and perspectives... both in and out of the classroom. Preparation Already done: Connected with National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions staff, naturalists, and other Grosvenor Teacher Fellows in Washington DC. I also received an overwhelming amount of background information, advice, and media training. Developed an action plan and outreach plan to help me get the most out of my expedition before, during, and in the year after. Read every travel blog I could find by people who have gone to the Galapagos Watched the BBC docu-series on Galapagos that's on Netflix... twice Still to do this summer: Finish getting all my gear. To get ready for all the snorkeling we'll do, I bought a GoPro for underwater footage and my own wetsuit. I've also picked up a light rain jacket and some sport sandals for Zodiac rides and wet landings. I'm still testing out reef-safe mineral sunscreens and I need to look into seasick pills and probiotics. I'm adamant that not my skin nor my stomach will slow me down! Do a lot more research on Galapagos. I'm beginning to work my way through some books from my recommended reading list. To do once the school year starts in August: Introduce my new class to the expedition via my kid-friendly blog written at a K-5 reading level. Ask students what they want to learn and see. I plan to film their questions so I can collect and film answers in the field. I'd also like to bring some artifacts with me from school to deepen the personal connection. Collaborate with colleagues across my K-12 school to help leverage my time in the field and make this a valuable experience for students at all levels.

And that's all for this year folks! Thanks for following along with the adventures of these intrepid explorers. Hopefully you're had the chance to both learn a little bit marine invertebrate embryology but also a glimpse in the lives of people who are interested in these sorts of things! Also, if you want to stay in touch with what happens at the marine station throughout the year you can find us here Until the next expedition! -Paul

This project is driven by the power of personal stories to build cultural understanding. The islands of the South Pacific may be known to the outside world for their spectacular beauty, and I'm interested in modern tales from the people who live there. My commitment is simple: be curious & listen. My work relies on meeting one person at a time and asking that person to introduce me to someone new. By following this trail, I will welcome the unexpected and share it with you. After three years of following these threads throughout the global Arctic, it's time to go somewhere new. Most importantly, I have found my first connection, that single person who can welcome me and get me started along a trail of stories. I got a message from D.! “I am very honored to find your message. I am looking forward to have a cup of tea and talk story with you. Aroh ia rahi.” – D It’s that simple. A cup of tea to begin the story that will range across the ocean. (I’ll tell you more about D. when I meet her in Tahiti.) I’m very happy that my three-years-and-counting collaboration with photographer Eric Guth will continue, and I’m thrilled to welcome filmmaker Matt Mastrantuono to the team. My sponsorship from the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Alliance enters a new phase in a landscape of palm trees, sharks, coral … and more stories you will only find by following us!

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

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.

Perfect conditions here at Gigante Seamount - which means we can do our work programme under sail!

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: and follow her on twitter @sylviaearle You will NOT be disappointed!

The OpenROV Trident and MARE's ROV Beagle getting to know each other in the Santa Barbara Channel Islands.

In 2010 my students and I became fascinated with waste. Where does our green waste, trash, recyclables, and household hazardous waste go?

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!

This is how things look from underwater! Can you spot the cuttlefish? 🐙 Photos by Nick Rogers @nickrogersmarine_photography

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!

6 weeks after her release, Hope is doing well and taking off towards the open sea. Will she head towards Lampedusa ? Follow her daily update here:

First dive in the sea for our OpenROV v2.8. We were able to record a school of Scomber colias. Sea temperature was 18 °C and max depth was 5 m.

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.

(swipe left or right for more)