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8 December 2016

Daikoku dive 2: Sulfur so good

The first day on the job is nerve-wracking for anyone, but when you’re a multimillion dollar ROV venturing into one of the most inhospitable landscapes on the planet you’d have a pretty good excuse to feel nervous. Everything yesterday with ROV SuBastian went as smoothly as we could have hoped. We all get a quick nights rest and are back ready to go at sunrise. It’s dive two for the #hydrothermalhunt and we’re making another dive at Daikoku seamount for what may be our final visit.

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7 December 2016

Return to Daikoku

After two cancelled dives in the back-arc, we transit to our northern-most destination: Daikoku seamount. The winds and seas are calmer there, and it is a chance to revisit a fascinating underwater volcano. We get the confirmation we have been hoping for at 6.30am – conditions are good enough and ROV SuBastian is ready for its first dive.

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30 November 2016

Setting sail on the Hydrothermal Hunt

The truth is that we have barely scratched the seafloor; making this trip a real adventure into the unknown. We do know that chemosynthetic life loves to gather around energy-producing vents, but what organisms are there in this back-arc area? How are they distributed? How do they travel, survive, and evolve? In order to find out, the research vessel Falkor is loaded with a crack team of scientists and a brand new Remotely Operated Vehicle – SuBastian.

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24 November 2016

Bowhead whales may be world’s oldest mammals

Bada found that most of the adult whales were between 20 and 60 years old when they died, but five males were much older. One was 91, one was 135, one 159, one 172, and the oldest whale was 211 years old at the time of its death. That whale was gliding through the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas when Thomas Jefferson was president.

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11 November 2016

A visit to one of Earth’s great canyons

Zhemchug Canyon is 20 percent longer and deeper than Grand Canyon and is a t-shaped cut in the sea floor beneath the gray waters of the Bering Sea. On a Greenpeace-sponsored expedition, Michelle Ridgway, a marine ecologist and consultant from Juneau, descended into the canyon alone in a tiny submarine.

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9 November 2016

A little goes a long way

I am one half of the trace element sampling team – mentioned in an earlier blog post as the ‘Dust People.’ Together with Bill Landing from Florida State University, we are collecting a range of samples (aerosols, a.k.a. dust; rain; sea-surface microlayer; and underlying water from about 30 cm depth) for the determination of trace elements.

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8 November 2016

No time to lose

It could be assumed that given the intensity of operations in this expedition, the thought of a five-day transit through calm waters would be warmly welcomed. The scientists would perhaps take advantage of the extra time by answering neglected emails, organizing their paperwork, or cleaning a few of their instruments; but mostly, many would expect them to rest, regain their energy and acclimatize to Falkor’s newfound rocking and rolling.

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7 November 2016

Sea-Surface Microlayer Week 2 Video Update

Crew and researchers give a look into their roles in this Study of the Sea-Surface Microlayer and Air-Sea Boundary research cruise. At sea and on the ship, everyone has tasks that lead to the gathering of scientific data in this expedition.

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Islands within an island

Falkor’s inhabitants usually fall into two categories: Crew or Scientists. But every now and then a rare phenomenon will take place: islands within the island, not one thing or the other.

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4 November 2016

The small hours

Eight days have gone by on this expedition, and ever-present Trichodesmium blooms are most likely the reason why the experts have been spotting plenty of marine life. Today is no exception as blowhole sounds alert the team.

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Winds of change

For the past eight days, Falkor has been operating close to land, but it will soon be time to head into the open ocean. Stronger winds and ocean swells are expected, and with them, increased complexity in the operations.

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3 November 2016

The time has come

The processes controlling carbon dioxide transport and transformation in oceans remain uncertain. We need to be able to model the transfer of this gas between the atmosphere and the ocean in order to create regional and global budgets of carbon, nutrients and pollutants.

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1 November 2016

Dispatch from R/V Falkor: With Bells On!

After the first night of sailing, daylight has made clear just how ambitious and intense this expedition will be. The catamaran, kayak, snifel, and CTD rosette have been deployed in order to finesse the process and make sure everybody is prepared for the five weeks ahead. The ship is always teeming with activity, but the next cruise will be an action packed expedition by any standard.

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21 October 2016

Life on barrier islands, north and south

There are connections between the Deep South and Far North: some of the shorebirds probing the beach on the Gulf of Mexico emerged from eggs this summer on northern tundra. The tankers sitting just offshore awaiting transit to Houston are filled with the same liquid that fuels the Alaska economy. And this barrier island 27 miles long and two miles wide is at constant risk of being hammered by a storm.

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12 October 2016

Video: Sikuliaq expedition recap

It’s been an incredible 28 days, full of good science, collaboration, and wildlife and ice viewing. Special thanks to the National Science Foundation, the R/V Sikuliaq, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, Oregon State University, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science for making this trip possible

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10 October 2016

Ms. Callaghan’s Classroom: Walking on Ice

As the timing of our science projects got shifted from encountering ice and equipment that didn’t always perform as expected, we ended up with time to allow a side trip to go and walk around on a piece of sea ice.

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30 September 2016

Sikuliaq week 3 recap: the home stretch

We’re on the home stretch! Much of the scientific equipment has already been packed and the mood has changed from a final scramble to squeeze every bit of data out of ship time as possible, to a subdued transit lull in which people are catching up on sleep, tying loose ends, and coming to terms with wrapping up this 28 day cruise.

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29 September 2016

Questions From Students

Her students have questions, 6th grade science teacher Ms. Callaghan has answers from aboard the R/V Sikuliaq.

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23 September 2016

Ms. Callaghan’s Classroom: The Underwater Flying Glider

What’s a glider? It is an underwater robot that “flies” around the sea going from the surface to the bottom of the seafloor collecting different types of science data.

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Ms. Callaghan’s Classroom: The Underwater Flying Glider

What’s a glider? It is an underwater robot that “flies” around the sea going from the surface to the bottom of the seafloor collecting different types of science data.

Read More >>