Seamounts 2007, Day 1

Most tales of the open sea begin with some classic line about the
seas being as rough as scorned lover or a furious ocean goddess
unleashing her fury. Both the scorned lover and furious goddess in
unison at sea welcomed our first full day out. Swells were at 20
providing a rough first night of sleep and rewarding me with multiple
skull contusions. The weather also endeavored to keep the ROV
Tiburon on deck but alas we succeeded in deploying. The newbies this
morning participated in the safety briefing with the long-standing
tradition of climbing into the survival suits which gives one the
appearance of big red Gumby. We have a full scientific compliment
representing not only members of MBARI, but UC Davis, Mills,
Standford, CSU Northridge, and University of the Pacific.

Today our 8-9 hour dive was on Pioneer Seamount, an old volcano,
dense with hard and soft corals, brittle stars, and sponges. Once
specimen of the soft coral Keratoisis measured well over 6
feet in height, the trunk at its thickest-a full 5-6cm. I also
collected 3 individuals of an undescribed species of nudibranch, that
I collected just one of a little less than year ago on Davidson
Seamount. I have been interested in both describing the species and
characterizing its genetic variability among seamounts. Also
collected on Pioneer was 3 gastropods of the genus Neptunea,
a gastropod typical of the Monterey Canyon complex but previously
unknown from seamounts in the region. Overall a productive day and
one filled with exciting and important discoveries. Check in with the
Seamount 2007 website mentioned in the previous post for updates from
others on board and pictures. This evening we are taking a
gravity cores, a 700+ pound beast of a device that is dropped to the
bottom to take 10 feet long sediment cores. Tomorrow we dive again on
Pioneer.

Dr. M (1771 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.


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