Whale Graveyard
Whale Graveyard
On a remote peninsula in Chile, over three hundred sei whales beached themselves. An expedition is setting off to recover some of the bones

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On Monday, February 6, 2017, around 1:30 a.m. CST, a sonic boom shook residents of the Midwest as a bright green fireball streaked through the night sky. The sound was that of a meteor, nearly the size of a minivan, entering our atmosphere. After its fall to Earth, radar spotted the end of its journey over Lake Michigan, approximately 10 miles off the coast of Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Teen explorers from Chicago, led by scientists from the Adler Planetarium's Far Horizons program, The Shedd Aquarium, and The Field Museum, team up to take on this Underwater ROV Meteorite Hunt. Interested explorers wanted!
69posts
A thousand years ago, the ancient Maya of the Yucatan Peninsula in modern-day Mexico built towering pyramids and beautiful palaces. They charted stars and planets in the heavens and kept elaborate calendars and histories related to these celestial beings. The earth itself was also a sacred place filled with divine presence. Perhaps most sacred were the cenotes, natural wells of life-giving fresh water. These openings into the earth's surface were places where underworld deities and rain gods dwelled. Today, many cenotes function as tourist attractions. People from all over the world can venture into the Maya underworld among stalactites and stalagmites and swim in the deep blue waters of cenotes. Unfortunately, however, many cenotes have become increasingly polluted with trash and other waste. Our expedition seeks to preserve cenotes as an important part of Maya culture. We are a partnership of both Mexican and U.S. faculty, university students, teachers, and affiliated professionals. Together, we are developing curriculum for students in Mexico ages 11-14 surrounding the science and history of cenotes. Ultimately, it is our goal that young people in Yucatan will be the voice and stewards for these precious sources of freshwater and Maya heritage.
27posts
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, a "crown jewel" of the California State Park system offers distance learning to K-12 students through the Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students (PORTS) programs. Live interactive videoconferences are delivered from a kayak to classrooms focusing on the Marine Protected Area (MPA) of the giant kelp forest ecosystem. The underwater ROV brings the program to another level. Students witness directly the wildlife that depends upon this hidden underwater habitat.
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In 2019 I will move to Nelson, New Zealand to take up a permanent post as a Marine Ecologist at NIWA. I am passionate about sharing my love for invertebrates and I want to share my discoveries as I meet new species in my new home.
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We are planning an expedition to explore the marine animals living near Iceland’s shallow hydrothermal vents, and the adaptations they may be making to these seemingly hostile yet very productive environments.
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In Brazil, there are about 305 ethnic groups, of which 16 belong to the Xingú National Park. The Park, now considered an Indigenous Land by a demarcated protection area, has more than 6 million indigenous people living in numerous villages. Each village has its particularities, format, organization, art, and culture. We invite you to travel with our team of specialists to this unique world in the heart of Brazil. Discover through our photos, videos and texts the routine of these peoples who have resisted and struggled to preserve their ancestral values, traditions and environment. Project Leader: Natália Branco Production: Roberto Benatti Project Manager: Felipe Martins Photographer: Carol Brenck
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Hadiboh, Hadramawt, Yemen, Jan 31 to Mar 1 2018
Dragon's Blood Island: Socotra
It is one of the most remarkable places in the world, situated between mainland Yemen and Somalia. Some of you will know this place, but most will not. We’re attempting a scouting expedition to an island that has been called ‘the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean’, ‘the jewel of the Arabian Sea’ and the ‘most alien looking place on Earth’.

Recent Observations

Although the use of SCUBA and advanced technical diving has enabled so much of our underwater world to be explored and studied, to date, the deep still posses some significant challenges to understanding what lies beneath.Combine this, with a shoestring budget and you have the makings of some inventive solutions to exploring the depths! Our expedition is using a drop-camera (DropCam) unit to explore the pinnacles of Kimbe Bay. Composed of four cameras, arranged in stereo pairs, the aim is to land the unit on the pinnacles and leave them to film the fish life down to around 80m. We’re using this back to back stereo formation to allow length measurements to be made of the fish we capture on film. By doing this we can work out lots of other details about fish life on the pinnacles, including biomass and how the fish communities are structured by their trophic levels. Back in August we assembled and calibrated our camera unit and after eventually finding a large enough case to transport it in, we headed up to Kimbe Bay for the first field-tests. After some adjustments for buoyancy and establishing a deployment method that would work from the side of a banana boat, we’re happy with how the unit is operating and now have the first sets of videos from the pinnacles to begin to analyse.
Papua New Guinea is often billed as “ The land of the unexpected”, a biological and anthropological wonder and a world of the undiscovered. So the unexpected is exactly what we are hoping for as we begin our expedition. The island of New Britain sits 150km east of mainland Papua New Guinea and is the largest island in the Bismarck Archipelago of PNG. Roughly the size of Taiwan, it’s crescent shaped land mass is composed of stunning mountain ranges covered in dense forest and several active volcanoes. The volcanic uplift that originally formed the island has also left a hidden legacy along the coast of New Britain; a rich seascape of sunken calderas, pinnacles and deep coastal shelves. The island is split into two regional provinces, West and East New Britain and it is the provincial capital of Kimbe town where our expedition begins. Kimbe Bay (5o10’00”S 150o30’00”E) is considered a biodiversity hotspot. Situated in the heart of The Coral Triangle, the area is exemplary even within this globally recognised centre of marine biodiversity. Home to around 860 coral reef fish species, researchers have been studying marine life in Kimbe Bay for over 20 years. Many of the most important discoveries about how reef fish disperse and move around the marine environment have come from work conducted in Kimbe. Although much has been learned from the shallow inshore reefs of the bay, we now want to know more about deeper coral habitats in the area. As climate change and increasing pressure on marine resources from rising human populations continue to degrade shallow (0-15m) coral reefs, it could be the deep that provides some degree of refuge for species in the future. Submerged features, for example underwater mountains (seamounts), pinnacles and deeper banks, constitute a significant amount of habitat available for coral reef species. Far less explored than shallow and nearshore counterparts, these reefs rise to intermediate depths (c20m), where diverse coral reefs form and provide habitats for numerous fish and other reef species. The primary aim of our expedition is to conduct the first baseline surveys of fish communities associated with a series of offshore pinnacle coral reefs in Kimbe Bay. Kimbe Bay offers an amazing opportunity to explore and study these structures, which have a lot in common with true deep-sea seamounts, including many aspects of their ecology. We are yet to understand fully the ecology of deeper submerged coral reefs, partly because deep diving and technical equipment is costly and high-effort surveying. Unlike the seamounts of mid-oceanic trenches, however, the pinnacles of Kimbe are more accessible to the every-day explorer. We aim to use these habitats as a study system in which to identify aspects of ecology, hydrology and geology which lead to the formation of the rich, abundant and sometimes unique marine communities that they support. If you’d like to read more about research conducted in Kimbe Bay check out the links below: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/316/5825/742.full.pdf https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982205007128 https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2009/03/20/0808007106.full.pdf
About the Author Now that I’ve spent some time introducing the rest of the dive team, let me introduce myself. I’m Brittany, and I’m a research technician in the Caselle Lab. I started at PISCO over four years ago while I was an undergraduate at UCSB, but my love for the ocean and exploration came long before that. I read the National Geographic cover story on the Bahamas blue holes in August 2010, and, as 15-year-olds in pursuit of a self-identity do, taped the poster to my bedroom wall. The image of divers swimming through the glowing, almost phosphorescent, cave system made me want to search for unanswered questions in unfamiliar places. Diving with PISCO gave me the tools to do so. It shaped and defined my college experience. I was able to explore a beautiful, shimmering world, poking my head under rocks, coming to face-to-face with sea lions, and often stunned by the majesty of a kelp cathedral -- all with the purpose of scientific exploration. In addition to diving, I found a niche in Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) projects, and wrote my senior thesis comparing the new method to our diver surveys on the Santa Barbara mainland. Since then, and in my current position, I’ve used BRUVs to generate species lists for the remote Azores Islands off of Portugal and the under-studied Islas Marias, Mexico. Now, eager to apply my skills to new research endeavors, I’m pursuing an M.S. in marine conservation starting in Fall 2019. I hope to continue to share my personal experience, as well as the shared experiences of a group of divers like this one, with a wider audience. By reading about our dive team the past few months, I hope you have seen how the ocean has impacted each and every one of our lives, even causing some of us to dedicate our entire careers to protecting it. I hope it has shown you that you also have a voice. Finally, I hope you use that voice, and ask that you do so with the ocean in mind.

Pristine Seas

Exploring and protecting the last wild places in the ocean