The ocean is home to a phenomenal diversity of marine organisms. They have evolved to inhabit warm waters near the equator and the icy waters of the Earth’s poles. Marine life takes advantage of the enormous volume the ocean comprises: from diatoms living near the sunny surface, to octopods living in the dark deep sea. From humpback whales that travel thousands of miles in the open ocean to sessile corals rooted to one spot, marine life spans a fantastic variety of forms and plays a multitude of different ecological roles in Earth’s global ocean system. The nine animals on the fingertips in...
Ever since fourth grade I’ve wanted to explore the creatures and landscapes of the deep ocean in a submersible. It took awhile, but I finally got my chance this summer as part of the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) . What I experienced during my three-hour dive and subsequent visits to the lab included many aspects of science that I love so much: the sense of awe and wonder that investigating the unknown elicits; the teamwork; the creative problem solving; and all the learning that generates more questions than answers! As a science educator, I accompanied two marine scientists, Dr...
I’m a high school student interested in pursuing marine science. I have loved the ocean since I was 3 feet tall and only getting my feet wet at the beach. I’m a senior in high school, and over the next year I have the task of selecting a college, but I’m also thinking about my major and future profession. I know how hard it can be trying to figure out what career you would like to pursue especially with sports, school clubs, and television influencing your decision. If you love the ocean, but also have a passion for another field I am here to help you. This summer I have had the opportunity...
We drove down a long dirt road on the northern side of Curaçao looking for a remote place to snorkel and sample. After a 30-minute bumpy ride, our team stepped out of the car into a breeze and the sounds of wind and crashing waves. It’s a moment I will never forget; although no one was in sight for miles, the evidence of human activity was apparent. We had stepped onto a shoreline blanketed in garbage. We were on the northern and windward side of the island, so we wondered if the trash came from the ocean, or if the site might be an old dump, or one still in use. Regardless of where it came...
This week people representing federal, state, and local governments, academia, non-profits, and private industry are in Chicago for the biennial Coastal Zone Conference . This meeting will give more than 1,000 attendees the opportunity to discuss ocean issues, strategies, and solutions. You can be a part of the gathering through a live webcast on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 from 4:30-5:30 pm (EDT) from the Shedd Aquarium. Produced by The JASON Project , the Coastal America Partnership , and the Coastal America Learning Center Network, the webcast's scheduled guests include 2011 Student Summit...
Tags: Education
Gyotaku is a traditional form of Japanese art that began over 100 years ago as a way for fishermen to keep a record of the fish they caught. They would apply sumi ink to one side of a freshly caught fish, then cover the fish with rice paper and rub to create an exact image of the fish. The ink was non-toxic and allowed for the fish to be processed for eating, while preserving records of fish species and sizes. These utilitarian prints were incredibly life like. When done properly they retained even subtle patterns and textures of the fish. The relatively simple black ink prints later...
Last week, Smithsonian research zoologists Dr. Jerry Harasewych and Dr. Martha Nizinski were in Curaçao looking for deep-sea marine gastropods and decapod crustaceans , respectively. I learned they both previously used the Johnson-Sea-Link I and II to conduct their research. The Johnson-Sea-Link is a research submersible that became operational in the early 1970's. Although Harasewych and Nizinski have used research submersibles extensively in other parts of the Caribbean and western Atlantic, they were excited to be a part of the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) and use the Curasub to...
Have you ever seen a creature so unusual? This fish (22 cm long) is called a sea toad and studying them requires luck and the opportunity to descend into the deep waters where they live. Last week Dr. Carole Baldwin and other ichthyologists participating in the Smithsonian Institution’s Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) were exploring waters off the coast of Curaçao in a submersible. While on a slope at a depth of 215 meters (about 700 ft) the fish team and the Curasub crew came across a sea toad walking along the bottom. The team was excited because this fish did not look like either of...
Extinction is a real possibility for three species of tunas. That’s one of the messages from a new study released today online in the journal Science . Researchers assessed the range and populations of all 61 species of scombrids (tunas, bonitos, mackerels and Spanish mackerels) and billfishes (swordfish and marlins). They determined that five fish are officially “threatened," a category that describes species that are "critically endangered," "endangered," or "vulnerable." The five species are: - Southern Bluefin Tuna ( Thunnus maccoyii ) , Critically Endangered - Atlantic Bluefin Tuna ( T...
You never know where following your passions can take you. I came to the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) two years ago as a research intern after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in biology. I never expected, two years later, to spend a summer working with scientists, sub pilots, and engineers to help document the biodiversity of marine life off of Curaçao, a small island in the southern Caribbean, just north of Venezuela. I arrived in Curaçao with the first group of Smithsonian biologists involved with the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP). Researchers from NMNH...