Read blog posts or news updates from our staff, educators, watchstanders, and scientists.
It's been a little over a week since the Nautilus has been searching the depths for the next big discovery. Not to downplay anything here - I mean, they have been at sea since early June you know. So far this summer they have been exploring the “Unknown America.”
Dr. Dwight Coleman, the director of the Inner Space Center, left last week to board the E/V Nautilus and become the Expedition Leader.
Yesterday, on August 4th 2014, the watchstander team took advantage of some E/V Nautilus transit time and ventured to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) to see the new National Science Foundation research vessel Sikuliaq. Based out of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Seward Marine Center in Seward, Alaska, this 261 foot polar-class 5 ice breaker is equipped to break through 2.5 feet of ice and sail with up to 26 scientists and a full crew. Reluctant to miss any trip to WHOI, the presence of an ice-breaker on the east coast further sweetened the prospective excursion, and upon seeing the R/V Sikuliaq, we were surely not disappointed.
Welcome to the second installment of the Inner Space Center’s ‘Wreck-ollections’, wherein we take a closer look at some of the fascinating shipwrecks we’ve visited or re-discovered. This season has found us diving on a series of historical wrecks from WWII, and so we will go back to the beginning of the summer, to the wreck of U-boat 166.
One of the most frequently observed organisms we saw was during July was the Venus Flytrap Anemone, or Actinoscyphi. We found these organisms on wrecks and many geological structures.
If you're interested in marine policy, check out the CHOW 2014 live streams this week on OceansLIVE.org!
This month’s species is a highlight from one of the more uncommon discoveries aboard the E/V Nautilus. Goosefish, which are sometimes referred to as monkfish, or Lophius americanus, are commonly found in the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean, with similar species occurring all over the world. However, this particular dive yielded an encounter with a far more elusive and largely unobserved species of goosefish.
Sladenia shaefersi, sometimes referred to as Schaefer's Anglerfish or the deep-water goosefish, is also a member of the angler family, and is recognizable by its bulbous brown body and the intricate patterning covering its back. In the featured video, you will be able to see how the patterning actually shimmers in the ROV lights, bearing an uncanny resemblance to mother of pearl.
The deep-sea goosefish can grow up to 28 inches, and is capable of inhabiting depths up to 1200 meters. Although not visible in this particular segment, Schaefer’s Anglerfish earns its namesake with a ‘beard’ of filliform illicia protruding from its jaw. To date we know very little about the nature of Schaefer's Anglerfish, as less than ten have ever been captured, making this an incredibly rare moment in E/V Nautilus History.
Last Saturday, May 10th, the deep sea exploration community lost one of their most valued assets: the Nereus ROV. As part of a series of deep sea research dives, ROV Nereus was working with the R/V Thomas G. Thompson to explore the Kermadec Trench, the fifth deepest in the world. Just north of New Zealand, the Kermadec trench extends to 10,047 meters, just shy of the Nereus ROV's 11,000 meter rating. After losing contact with the ROV at the bottom of the Kermadec, scientists and technicians aboard the Thompson waited for the ascent fail-safe mechanisms to trigger, and for the ROV to resurface. At the five hour mark, when Nereus should have been ready for recovery, operators aboard the Thompson spotted debris floating in the water: the remnants of the Nereus ROV's flotation system. As many had feared, this spelled doom for ROV Nereus , and indicated an implosion event which, at nearly six miles under the surface, would have yielded a force near that of dynamite.
This is the first installment of a new series called wreck-ollections, wherein we will look back at shipwreck dives from years past. Here at the ISC, we have access to more than a decade's worth of underwater footage, as well as a few resident shipwreck experts, and so we found it fitting to use our resources to bring these fascinating historic relics to you. Enjoy the following article on the Monterey Shipwrecks, and keep an eye out for future installments!
The first cruise of the season was a resounding success!
On April 10th the Okeanos Explorer set out to further explore some interesting locations identified in Legs 1 & 2 earlier this season. With the goal of exploring the diversity and distribution of deep seafloor habitats the ship conducted 16 dives in 20 days sending the ROV to the ocean floor, up to 2900m deep!
We were lucky enough to gather some impressive images and video from their trip. Check it out!
As one of the most frequently observed species here at the Inner Space Center, Holothurians represent a diverse and important part of deep water ecosystems. Often found in high densities, Holothurians are true generalists, and have been observed in a wide variety of habitats including the hadal zone. With a genus comprised of over one thousand species, there has been a plethora of genetic and phenotypic variation observed, including six species which have forsaken their benthic ancestry for that of a partially-pelagic existence.