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16 February 2017
As the bright yellow line and blinking strobe slip slowly down into the heaving waves, I feel a familiar sense of unease. Even though I have seventeen successful deployments of free-drifting, neutrally-buoyant sediment traps (or NBSTs) under my belt, it never feels quite normal to see the gray and orange float with its payload of painstakingly-prepared sample collectors sink away from the comparatively safe, solid deck of the ship.
Often, the “small victories” of a research cruise are what add up to a successful expedition. This video gives a great look into what many probably assume is an easy task: recovering samples and getting them on board Research Vessel Falkor.
15 February 2017
To diagnose the bewildering mud, we first had to get as close as we could by boat and then approach it on foot. This was trickier than it sounds. The best kind of mud is that soupy, stinky stuff that slowly sucks you into its depths if you naively try to walk across it. We found the tummy slither to be an efficient mode of transportation.
13 February 2017
On board we have holographic microscope. (Yes, holographic!) In contrast to a normal microscope, the recorded holograms can refocus the microscopic image at different distances to the camera.
1 February 2017
Once the fog lifted and we entered smaller channels, we started seeing deer and monkeys on the banks and in the forest. We stopped in a small side channel and had lunch before crossing the over 10-km wide estuary in our speed boat, a 40-min ride.
I will do as they did, utilizing my 21st Century skills as scientific illustrator, designer and photographer, to explore and share the connections between nature, science, and art.
31 January 2017
After a night in Dhaka, our group temporarily split up. Chris and Dan headed to Khulna in the SW at 4 am to avoid the hartal (general strike) that was planned for 6am-2pm. Liz and I stayed in Dhaka for a day.
26 January 2017
Everyone had to keep their eyes wide open for the Sevilleta’s cottontails and black tailed jackrabbits – not an easy task at 2am!
23 January 2017
“This part of the ocean has never been mapped before… tens of millions of years – stories that have to be put together.” Our final #MappinTheFloor transit/cruise video explains what was accomplished and how members of the team will move forward with the data and discoveries!
19 January 2017
Check out this animated explanation of ocean exploration during the #MappinTheFloor expedition and Falkor’s multibeam!
17 January 2017
I have been asked a whole bunch of times by the crew, media representatives and 11th Hour Racing and Schmidt Ocean Institute representatives what my “takeaway” is. The short answer, “Wow, this has been an incredible experience!”
16 January 2017
As participants ask questions about whether the multibeam affects marine mammals and what kind of schooling is needed to be just like Colleen, it is clear that the public is curious about and excited to be a part of what happens on board. I know we have touched young hearts and minds back on land. As each of us go back to our respective communities, we will continue to share our experiences from Falkor and promote the understanding and mindfulness the ship stands for.
Aloha readers! I’m baaack, for another oceanographic expedition on mighty R/V Falkor. I say mighty, because her previous life was as a North Sea fisheries enforcement vessel and so she was initially designed for speed and sturdiness to survive the harsh conditions. At the beginning of our journey we were bashing through the trade seas and currents north of the equator on the way to our study site near Johnston Atoll. It was a bit of a rough ride, although we felt safe and secure in the belly of mighty Falkor, and the conditions steadily improved.
12 January 2017
In this blog, the team reflect on this experience so far.
11 January 2017
The challenge lies in how satellites estimate where underwater volcanic mountains might be located. This is achieved by detecting slight changes in the distance between the satellite and the surface of the ocean, which is ever so slightly bulged up due to water piling directly above the seamount, sometimes predicting the location about 1 km from where it actually lies.
But the real answer at least for me lies in the fact that as I have bounced through six decades of life and entered my seventh, a time when so many would argue that they have “seen it all,” I increasingly realize how little I have actually seen, experienced and learned.
9 January 2017
Soon, Falkor will arrive to one of the most remote areas of Earth to conduct a four-day scan of a seafloor segment within the newly expanded area of the Johnston Atoll Unit in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
6 January 2017
Long gone are the days when she would come back home from mapping expeditions carrying two 100-megabyte tapes and a thick roll of maps. That is, thirty days of ocean floor mapping producing no more than 200 megabytes of information. Today 16 beams on the sonar have become 450, which translates into 92 megabytes per hour.
“When it comes to biology, we really have no idea what is down there,” explains Dr. Joyce Miller, multibeam mapping scientist. “We need to map the area first in order to know where to look in future exploration.”