Update on NOAA Expedition in the Indian Ocean

This is a perspective view of the Kawio Barat (West Kawio) seamount looking from the northwest. The underwater volcano rises around 3,800 meters from the seafloor. Credit: Image courtesy of INDEX 2010: "Indonesia-USA Deep-Sea Exploration of the Sangihe Talaud Region."

The join Indonesia – U.S. exploration of the deep ocean north of Sulawesi, Indonesia mapped the large undersea volcano Kawio Barat.  From base to summet Kawio Barat measures 10,000 feet but its summit still remains 8,000 feet below the surface. The expedition also utilizing telepresence to connect researchers on land to the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer.  Researchers at the Exploration Command Centers in Jakarta and Seattle can interact with shipboard personnel to guide the expedition via live satellite and high-speed internet. You can catch the expedition at oceanexplorer.noaa.gov in both English and Bahasa Indonesia. The site includes logs from scientists at sea and ashore, images from the expedition, and expedition education lesson plans.

Close-up imagery showing barnacles covering sulphur structures on Kawio Barat volcano. Their tentacles, or ‘cirri,’ extended like blooming flowers, then folded back into the shell. The white fluff on the cirri are filaments of bacteria that grow in the passing vent water. The barnacles hold them out to improve growth then, apparently, withdraw to “lick their fingers.” Credit: Image courtesy of INDEX 2010: "Indonesia-USA Deep-Sea Exploration of the Sangihe Talaud Region."

Dr. M (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. 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. 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. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (http://www.scienceofthesouth.com/), connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.

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