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16 January 2017
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.
10 January 2017
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.
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
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.
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.”
5 January 2017
During an eruption that lasted three days in 1912, a vibrant landscape became the gray badlands known as the Valley of 10,000 Smokes.
4 January 2017
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.
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.
28 December 2016
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.
23 December 2016
The global ocean comprises Earth’s biggest microbiome, with at least half of the ocean’s microbial biomass occurring beneath the ocean floor.
Watch giant smokers and tiny “chimlets,” along with cannibalistic crabs and scavenger shrimps (and more!)
22 December 2016
A quick video primer on hydrothermal vent chimneys…
21 December 2016
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.
30 November 2016
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.
21 November 2016
In Alaska, trees growing at the very edge of their northern range may be influenced by warming climate. Will they eventually take over the tundra beyond?
15 November 2016
Thus far, about 90 quill samples have been collected. Quills are modified hairs that are easily detached when the porcupine smacks its body into something. Contrary to popular belief, a porcupine cannot “shoot” its quills as a defensive strategy.