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17 January 2017

Notes From The Drawing Board

As we wend our weaving way across the waters of the Johnston Atoll Unit, tracing the contours of previously-unexplored seamounts below, there is a full moon on the horizon. Work never stops aboard the vessel.

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16 January 2017

Making Connections

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.

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Back for More Beaming

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.

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12 January 2017

Five Voices from the Pacific

In this blog, the team reflect on this experience so far.

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11 January 2017

The Deep End

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.

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Why am I out here?

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.

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10 January 2017

Week 1 Video – Eyes Below the Surface: Mapping Johnston Atoll

The first week of the #MappinTheFloor transit/cruise brings the team closer to the Johnston Atoll and time for many of the team to learn new skills, as well as connecting with students across the world. Check out this video and get an inside look into the activities onboard R/V Falkor.

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9 January 2017

The Ocean Rocks!

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.

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6 January 2017

Drawing From A Life at Sea

Hi there! My name is Lucy Bellwood and I am the artist-at-sea aboard R/V Falkor’s Johnston Atoll transit-cruise. I am a professional adventure cartoonist, tasked with having unusual, exciting experiences and bringing back comics that allow my readers to learn about them.

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A Lifetime Underwater

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.

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Preparing for Mapping the Marine National Monument

“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.”

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4 January 2017

A Student at Sea

It has been hard containing my excitement since I first found out I would be a participant this past July. I am sure my friends and family were sick and tired of me constantly talking about being on the Falkor.

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A Ship Full of Storytellers

Not long after leaving port in Guam it was time for lesson one: mal de mer (sea sickness). The malady was especially harsh on three of the five adventurous storytellers, but as the sun rose the next day and the waves mellowed down, they slowly began emerging from their cabins, ready to reconnect with the excitement of their missions.

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28 December 2016

Unexplored Ocean Depths Bustling with Life, Despite Extreme Conditions

This is the first series of scientific dives for ROV SuBastian. Equipped with numerous cameras, including a high-definition 4K video camera, the dives were live streamed onto YouTube and watched by millions. The multidisciplinary team will continue to analyze the data and samples collected during this expedition to advance research on how life thrives on these extreme deep-sea hydrothermal vents.

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26 December 2016

Hydrothermal Hunt: From ‘Wow!’ to ‘Why?’

It takes two and a half hours to get to the seafloor, but the view you get is worth the wait.

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23 December 2016

Mighty Microbes of the Deep Ocean

The global ocean comprises Earth’s biggest microbiome, with at least half of the ocean’s microbial biomass occurring beneath the ocean floor.

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Searching For Life – Week Two Highlights – First Views

Watch giant smokers and tiny “chimlets,” along with cannibalistic crabs and scavenger shrimps (and more!)

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22 December 2016

A Look into Chimneys – Insights from the Hydrothermal Hunt

A quick video primer on hydrothermal vent chimneys…

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21 December 2016

Insights from Daikoku Seamount

The last few days have been full of dives and discoveries. The team has been piloting ROV SuBastian around Daikoku Seamount, an active submarine volcano with sulfur lakes, strange creatures and hydrothermal vents. Using the ROV’s High Definition cameras and R/V Falkor’s multibeam sonar, the team has been gathering data and visual information.

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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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