Thursday, July 28, 2011

Amphipods on Plumarella

Sorry its been forever since a posting. What can I say? Its been a long field season!

Getting ready to head West again. Kinda hoping to see more deep-sea tube-dwelling amphipods this year. The video shows the little Amphipod buggers crawling all over a colony of Plumarella longispina from 500 m depth in Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary just last summer.

The sea fans make a home for these amphipods, so it makes you wonder if the benefits to rockfish from sea fans are more direct, as refuge, or more indirect, as substrate for prey like amphipods. Does anyone know do rockfish eat amphipods? They look yummy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Taking Vimeo for Spin

Deep Corals of Roatan from Peter Etnoyer on Vimeo.

Video is an incredibly useful educational tool, but hard to employ if you don't what kind of software to expect. Lately I've been turning to the cloud which is YouTube because videos are "always there" for nearly any browser.

More and more I like the Vimeo platform. The quality is excellent, and the design is clean. It has less functionality than YouTube, but that's OK.

Take a look at this sweet deep-sea coral video from Roatan, Honduras at Vimeo above and compare it to the Blogger upload and the YouTube videos below. This is a nice image. Great subjects, too!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Seamounts for your smartphone

Satellite based estimates of the number of seamounts in the world number fall somewhere between 33,000 and 45,000 features, and the combined area of these seamounts is larger than South America. However, unlike beaches or even coral reefs, most people will never see a seamount.

Unless you show it to them on your smartphone, that is! Help eliminate the 'never-seen-a-seamount' problem with a little eye-candy designed to help you spread the word about these submerged mountain peaks. Download the Phoenix Island Protected Area (PIPA) seamount video here and put it on your smartphone.

This way you can show it around at the dinner party, or keep it handy just in case you find yourself on the front porch this summer, trying to explain the wonders of the ocean universe to Uncle Al. Let me if it works for you.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Deep Corals of the Meso-American Barrier Reef

The Meso-American Barrier Reef is the world's second longest barrier reef, poised along a steep escarpment that descends abruptly into the bathyal zone on the western edge of the Caribbean Sea. The beauty of the shallow coral reefs has been appreciated since the Maya. In recent decades, shallow Caribbean reefs have been degraded, suffering insults from hurricanes, shoreline development, pollution, climate change, over fishing, a Diadema urchin die-off, sneakers on the beach, you name it.

The more we learn about deep corals, the more we're led to wonder about the fate of mesophotic coral ecosystems and the deep-sea coral reefs directly adjacent to the Meso-American Barrier Reef. Did they suffer, too, somehow? It stands to reason, but deep impacts are far out of sight, and out of mind. Besides, how can we know what's happening down there?

Typically scientists will lease a research vessel equipped with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) package for $50K+ a day. Tourist submersibles like Idabel and Substation Curacao let us explore deep habitat for a fraction of the usual cost. Watch this video to understand incredible visibility you can get from these tourist subs, and check out this rich and abundant deep coral habitat 300-700 meters deep, just a few miles offshore the Bay Island of Roatan, in Honduras. There's alot here to explore.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Saba Bank protected status acknowledged by Dutch

For those interested in the Caribbean's Sea newest marine protected area, Saba Bank, here's news from The Hague in a clipping sent by Dutch colleagues.

The article is further evidence that scientific research published in the Biodiversity of Saba Bank collection is resonating with policy makers in Europe. The key term is 'unprecedentedly rich'. Habitat heterogeneity and high species richness and were the main messages from the collection published in the open-access online scientific journal PLoS One. More than 100 full color plates of fishes and other marine species as well as maps and articles are freely downloadable at the collection's website. The YouTube video of anchor damage on Saba Bank probably didn't hurt the cause, either...

Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance website provides more details on the protected area measures in a post submitted by Paul Hoetjes in October 2010.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011: A Good Year for Vikings?

An inspired clan of Viking warriors hit the streets with torches aflame for a Hogmanay celebration (New Year's Eve) in Edinburgh, Scotland; from a collection of New Year's Eve images around the world at CNN. This photo in particular looks like a lot of fun. The procession ends with the burning of a Viking ship. The fallen warriors of 2010 are off to Valhalla. Welcome 2011, and pass the grog!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Exploring Undersea with Google Earth

Google Earth is a wonderful tool for exploring the Earth. Since version 5.0, even underwater photos and deep-sea videos have a sense a place, because Google Earth can georeference these images to real topographic and hydrographic data. This is a powerful tool for outreach and education because the software literally provides a window on the deep.

Consider the recent Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill event. Anyone interested in the seafloor communities thriving within the vicinity of the spill need only to load the 'Explore the Ocean' layer produced by Sylvia Earle's Mission Blue for Google Earth to witness the fish and corals in the environments surrounding the wellhead site.

The same technology could be used proactively to highlight the potential impacts of unregulated tailings disposal from say, Ramu Nickel Mine in Papua New Guinea, if only we had video of those deep-reef communities. Perhaps this could help.

One excellent example of the narrative utility of Google Earth for deep-sea exploration is here below by NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. The creators mix a slick narrative tour with a geography lesson and live video from the incredible INDEX-SATAL Mission in 2010. The effect is a good one, with good integration of seafloor topography data and 3D buildings on land. Nice work, NOAA-OER. Happy Christmas!