Kate DeLussey: Studying Deep Water Corals – The Work Continues, July 17, 2012

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kate DeLussey
Onboard NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow
July 3 – 18, 2012

Mission:  Deep-Sea Corals and Benthic Habitat:  Ground truthing and exploration in deepwater canyons off the Northeast
Geographical area of cruise: Atlantic Ocean, Leaving from  Newport, RI
Date: Tuesday , July 17, 2012

Kate DeLussey
Teacher at Sea on the Henry B. Bigelow


Latitude:  40.3456 °
Longitude: -68.2283°

Weather Data from the Bridge:
Air Temperature: 21.90° C
Wind Speed: 12 Kts
Relative Humidity:  102.00%
Barometric Pressure: 1,008.83 mb
Surface Water Temperature: 21.63° C

Science and Technology Log

TowCam returned to the ship for the last time this cruise.  The components have been stored, batteries have been charged, and data logged in ten minute increments has been saved in excel files for others to read.  The last pictures have been upload from the camera for a grand total of over 35,000 photos. Yes, the images of corals, sponges, and fish have been celebrated, reviewed, and annotated, but the real learning work is just beginning.

The scientific team will spend years studying, thinking, comparing, wondering, and hypothesizing about corals and coral habitat.  They will compare what they have learned with what they already know. They will read what other scientists have written about corals and talk to one another about what they see.  They will write papers explaining their findings, and make presentations to share their learning with others.

These scientists will do this hard learning work because they are curious, because coral habitats are unique and special, and because they care about our  planet’s oceans and the creatures living there.

As earth citizens we are should be grateful and supportive of the research these scientists do.  They work to care for and protect ocean life that very few people even know about.  Hopefully, we all will learn from their work.

The Science Team led by Dr. Martha Nizinski aboard the Bigelow. July 2012

Thank you to NOAA and to:  Chief Scientist Dr. Martha Nizinski

Thanks also to: Dr. T. Shank, Dr. D. Packer, Dr. V. Guida, Dr. E. Shea, Dr. B. Kilan, Dr. M. Malik, Dr. G. Kurras, and Dr. L Christiansen.

Through your dedication and work we all get to learn about the wonders of our planet.

Personal Statement

I have been able to share in this amazing coral research.  Don’t get me wrong.  This is not all fun and games.  There were many challenges, and the hours on shift were long and sometimes difficult.  This is getting down and dirty with real science.  BUT… this is different, usually teachers say the good stuff first:)

Pay close attention to this next statement:  Many of the corals seen in the photos collected by TowCam have never been seen in these locations before. Never!   Some of the corals might even be new discoveries.

Only eleven people have seen corals in the canyons of the Mid- and North Atlantic.  I am one of those people.

I will never be the same, and if you are in my class next year, well, you will never be the same either. You are going to love the Oceans.  You will be surprised to find yourself choosing to watch NOAA videos over video games.   You will read non-fiction to find answers to your questions, and you will write to be a persuasive voice for corals because some of them only know 11 people and they need more friends.

Perhaps you will be amazed and wonder about bioluminescent sea creatures lighting up the sea like lightning bugs.  (I am still waiting to see them Dr. Packer! )  It is possible you will develop a passion for cephalopods like Dr. Shea, or maybe you are simply thinking that you could do this ocean science research.   You can prepare by reading the writings of Dr. Nizinski and others.  It is all possible- you just need to wonder, think, hypothesize, and try.

I may look like Kate DeLussey, but the experience of researching Deep Sea Corals has changed me.    Learning will do that to you !

Next Time:  You could be a scientist at sea.   The corals and other sea creatures will thank you!

Becky Moylan: Beginning a New Adventure, July 1, 2011

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Becky Moylan
Onboard NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette
July 1 — 14, 2011

Mission: IEA (Integrated Ecosystem Assessment)
Geographical Area: Kona Region of Hawaii
Captain: Kurt Dreflak
Science Director: Samuel G. Pooleye, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist: Evan A. Howell
Date: July 1, 2011

Loving the ocean by paddling
Loving the ocean by paddling

Personal Log
My name is Becky Moylan and I am a teacher at Central Middle School in Honolulu, HI, where I teach 8th grade Earth Science.  NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) , through its Teacher at Sea Program, is allowing me to join them on their research ship, the Oscar Elton Sette, to see exactly what they are doing and how they are doing it and to participate in the science being conducted.  We will be leaving on July 1, 2011 to study an area of the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. I’m excited to be a part of this endeavor and will be returning home to Honolulu with important knowledge to pass on to my students.

jellyfish in ocean

The oceans run our world.  A lot of people don’t realize just how important oceans are to our survival. The oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface. They contain 99% of the living space on earth! Without this space for organisms to survive, there would be at least five fewer phyla of animals on Earth.

Human impacts on the ocean can upset Earth’s biodiversity, which in turn upsets our survival.  More than 90% of the trade between countries is carried out by ships and about half the communications between nations use underwater cables.  The oceans also interact and affect our weather and atmosphere.  Without the ocean currents, Earth’s processes would come to a standstill and die.

Three Penguins Standing
Three Penguins Standing

Oceans are the most unexplored area of Earth with endless possibilities. Less than 10% of this space has been explored.  It is said that the oceans contain nearly 20 million tons of gold.  Unexplored plant and animal life could possibly contribute to our health and our way of life.  As we know, this precious part of our environment is being polluted, and 80% of ocean pollution is coming from land-based activities.

Ocean research is uncovering knowledge about the interior of our planet and how it was formed, discovering how we are harming it, and what needs to be done to save it.