A Wonderful Experience!

Posted August 8, 2010 by Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, and NOAA Administrator

Group photo.

Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Jane Lubchenco (center), joined the last two days of the FLoSEE Expedition and made two dives in the Johnson-Sea-Link II submersible. She and two other NOAA officials experienced first-hand the Ocean Discovery Education Leg. Pictured from left, Don Liberatore and Dennis Hanisak (HBOI/FAU), Po Chi Fung (NOAA), Jane Lubchenco, Shirley Pomponi (HBOI/FAU) and Justin Kenney (NOAA).

Bright and early Sunday morning, I went aboard the R/V Seward Johnson to participate in the last leg of CIOERT’s Florida Shelf Edge Exploration Expedition. It was a special treat for me to be aboard with superb scientists, a talented crew, and great students as they gathered information on plankton, water quality, and deepwater coral and sponge communities. Designed to evaluate possible impacts of the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill along Florida’s Gulf and Atlantic coasts, the data will also contribute significantly to our general understanding of these important, but poorly characterized, communities. Continue reading

The Search for a Cancer Treatment

Posted on August 7, 2010 by Esther Guzmán, Assistant Research Professor, HBOI/FAU

Photo of Esther Guzmán.

In the wet lab of the R/V Seward Johnson, Harbor Branch scientist Esther Guzmán, right, explains part of the sponge cell extraction process to university student Lorin West.

What is an immunologist doing in an oceanographic research vessel? Well, if one is lucky enough to work at the Biomedical and Biotechnology Research Group at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, the answer is simple: collecting organisms that hold potential cures against cancer. Continue reading

Exploring Key West Sinkhole B

Posted on August 6, 2010 by Brian Cousin, Video & Still Photographer, HBOI/FAU

Photo of Brian Cousin.

Video & Still Photographer Brian Cousin gets ready to slide into the PI’s seat in the sphere of JSL II to test his skills with the submersible’s remote camera controls in the Key West Sink Hole B.

Two unusual sites the Johnson-Sea-Link II visited during the FLoSEE Expedition are sinkholes in the seafloor. After photographing and videotaping other expedition members climbing into and out of the submersible, I was given the great privilege of diving in the sphere with pilot Craig Caddigan into the sinkhole known as the Key West Sinkhole B, about 18 miles southeast of Key West. Scientist Dennis Hanisak and submersible pilot Phil Santos made the dive in the aft observation chamber. Continue reading

City Under The Sea

Posted on August 5, 2010 by Sara Edge, Assistant Research Professor, HBOI/FAU

Photo of Miller's Ledge feature.

This feature, almost 400 feet deep on Miller’s Ledge, seems to defy categorization as a natural formation or the ruins of a man-made structure. While the dive team ascertained that it was natural, the cable streaming off the top to the right definitely is not.

Today has been both very exciting and somewhat sad. It was exciting because I got to go down in the front bubble of the JSL again. It was sad because it’s the last time on this trip, and probably my last time ever, being able to dive in the Johnson Sea-Link submersible. I hope the latter isn’t true, because it truly is a unique and thrilling experience. However, I will always be grateful for the opportunity that I’ve had on this trip. Continue reading

Botany in the Twilight Zone

Posted on August 4, 2010 by M. Dennis Hanisak, Research Professor, HBOI/FAU

Photo of inside the JSL.

Dennis Hanisak (right) occupies the Principle Investigator’s seat in the sphere of the JSL next to submersible pilot Phil Santos.

I am a phycologist (one who studies algae). Part of my research is on the biology of what I used to call “deep-water algae”, which I loosely (and more logistically) defined as algae growing deeper than I can SCUBA dive (which is 190 feet). More recently, I use the term “mesophotic algae”. Mesophotic reefs are deeper reef systems (to 150 meters in the clear waters of the subtropics and tropics) that still receive enough light for photosynthesis, which drives all ecosystems in the world, with one exception (hyperthmal vents, where chemosynthesis is the basic process of primary productivity). As more scientists and agencies, such as NOAA, have become interested in mesophotic reefs, I am returning to one of my loves … these algae that grow well at light levels much lower than what the textbooks say is possible. We still know little about the biodiversity and ecology of these algae, yet we know that they must be important in terms of primary productivity, food supply, habitat complexity, etc. in mesophotic reefs, just as benthic algae are in many other marine systems. Continue reading

An Adventure at Sea

Posted on August 3, 2010 by Gabby Barbarite, Integrative Biology Ph.D. Student, HBOI/FAU

Photo of Gabby Barbarite.

Gabby Barbarite shows Kristen Davis the row of keys that trigger each net on the MOCNESS trawl system. The keys release a cable to deploy nets at the desired depths when prompted by a computer command from the control room on the ship. Cables must be manually connected to the keys before the net is launched.

I am a Ph.D. student at FAU’s Harbor Branch Campus under the direction of Dr. Tammy Frank in the Visual Ecology Lab. Since I arrived at Harbor Branch in 2008, I have had some incredible opportunities, but I must say that the most amazing experience is diving in the Johnson-Sea-Link submersible! This is my second research cruise aboard the RV Seward Johnson and every day is a new adventure! Continue reading

Immersion in Ocean Sciences

Posted on Aug 2, 2010 by M. Dennis Hanisak, Research Professor, HBOI/FAU

Group photo.

Students and instructors gather in front of the JSL as the RV Seward Johnson steams at night. From back left, Dr. Dennis Hanisak, Hilde Zenil, Lucas Jennings, Christopher Malinowski, Lindsay Harris, Lorin West, Gabby Barbarite, Kristen Davis, and Dr. Tammy Frank.

Leg 4 of the FLoSEE Expedition includes the first of a series of CIOERT “Ocean Discovery” cruises that will increase “hands-on”, at-sea, multi-disciplinary opportunities for university students in the CIOERT region, with each cruise focused on one or more of CIOERT’s themes. The goal of this program is to facilitate students to become successful scientists through active participation and immersion in a multi-disciplinary ocean sciences research and monitoring cruise, followed by a rigorous, laboratory-based oceanographic research course. This year’s cruise is a preface to a course Immersion in Ocean Sciences that will be taught this fall at HBOI/FAU by Drs. Tammy Frank and Dennis Hanisak. Continue reading

Heading Back to St. Pete!

Posted on August 1, 2010 by M. Dennis Hanisak, Research Professor, HBOI/FAU

Photo of healthy mesophotic reefs.

The mesophotic reef at the Florida Middle Grounds is festooned with colorful sponges, coral, and coralline algae giving the appearance of a healthy ecosystem. CIOERT researchers are performing genetic studies that will help identify whether some species are undergoing environmental stress.

As the RV Seward Johnson steams back into port (St. Petersburg, for the fourth time on this expedition!), the FLoSEE team had a chance to look back on Leg 3 and forward to Leg 4. On Leg 3, we targeted mesophotic reefs along the northwest and west Florida shelf-edge paleoshorelines (Madison Swanson Fishery Reserve, Steamboat Lumps, Twin Ridges, Florida Middle Grounds). These areas are essential fish habitats; some are Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPCs) or Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Most of the sites were low relief, and all appeared to be healthy. Continue reading

Quantitative Assessment of Zooplankton

Posted on July 31, 2010 by Tammy Frank, Research Professor, HBOI/FAU

Photo of Tammy Frank and Gabby Barbarite.

Tammy Frank (right) and her graduate student Gabby Barbarite perform MOCNESS trawls twice each day: once during daylight hours and then again after dark, when animals migrate from the darker depths to feed nearer the surface.

While almost all of the other scientists on this cruise are studying plants and animals that live on the bottom, my graduate student, Gabby Barbarite, and I are out here to study the animals in the water column. Specifically, we’re studying the plankton, which are plants and animals that can’t swim against currents, and range in size from microscopic to jellyfish as long as a football field. Almost all of the animals that live on the bottom, such as corals, crabs, and fish, have planktonic larvae. In addition, many of the adults rely on plankton raining down in the water column for at least a portion of their nutrition. So, you could say that we’re studying the organisms that keep the reefs alive. In addition, many of the commercially important fisheries – rose shrimp, golden crab, bluefin tuna, etc. – have planktonic larvae, and many juvenile fish species rely on plankton for their nutrition. Continue reading

Red Shirt Day!

Posted on July 30, 2010 by Michelle Wood, Biological Oceanographer, NOAA/AOML

Photo of Michelle Wood.

Michelle Wood, from NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, is on her second cruise this summer to study methods of measuring oil in the water and the bacteria that break it down.

You’ve heard of a red letter day; today is a red shirt day! I started working for NOAA as the head of the Ocean Chemistry Division of the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami (AOML) early this year – just in time for the oil spill!!! My background is a mix of biological oceanography, phytoplankton research, and ocean color research. This has proven to be just the right combination for studying the impact of the oil spill on fragile ecosystems and the risk of transport of oil or tar balls to South Florida. As a guest investigator on this leg of the FLoSEE cruise, I try to represent NOAA and AOML, as well as make a contribution to water column studies. So, I wear my NOAA tee shirts … and help run the CTD and rosette water sampling system. We use this system to “map” the distribution of oxygen, phytoplankton, and other properties in the water column, and to collect samples for studies of bacteria and phytoplankton that might either provide food for the benthic invertebrates in the fish habitats that the rest of the ship’s party is studying, or that might devour oil as part of their nutrition. Continue reading

Johnson-Sea-Link II Dive #3800: Boom or Bust?

Posted on July 29, 2010 by Sara Edge, Assistant Research Professor, HBOI/FAU

Photo of Sara Edge.

Sara Edge muses over a sea biscuit in the wet lab, collected by the submersible team aboard the JSL.

Before every submersible dive, scientists and crew on the R/V Seward Johnson transect an area of the Gulf of Mexico seabed looking for interesting features, such as sink holes, cliffs, peaks, and ledges, which might have a high diversity of benthic (bottom dwelling) species, such as corals, sea fans, and sponges, as well as high densities of fish and other pelagic (free-swimming) animals. The transect is done with a fathometer that scans the ocean floor with multibeam echosound to produce high resolution bathymetric maps. These maps are projected as colored images back to the ship’s bridge indicating depth and structure of the sea floor. Points on the map are selected and marked to create a route for the submersible to travel. Continue reading

An Unforgettable Experience

Posted on July 28, 2010 by Jennifer Garceau, Chemistry Research Technician, HBOI/FAU

Photo of Jennifer Garceau and samples.

Jennifer Garceau takes sample bucket number 10 from the Johnson-Sea-Link submersible to the wet lab aboard the Research Vessel Seward Johnson. Species identification, vouchering, extraction, deck photography, cryopreservation, and database entry are some of the procedures applied to each sample aboard ship.

On Sunday, July 25, I embarked on Leg 3 of the FLoSEE Expedition in the Gulf of Mexico, packed with brilliant researchers from around the globe. I was able to assist in several departments. My main priority on this cruise is to attain samples of mid- to deep-water sponges and prepare them for future chemical analyses. I have also been asked to help collect samples for microbial analyses. Not only is this an honor to be able to help others, but also it brings back a lot of memories from my past experience that I obtained while working for the National Marine Fisheries Service. Continue reading

Sampling for Coral Health and Disease

Posted on July 27, 2010 by Lisa Cohen, Biological Scientist, HBOI/FAU

Photo of Lisa Cohen.

Biologist Lisa Cohen, HBOI/FAU

When I interviewed for my position with the Robertson Coral Reef Program about 4 months ago, Drs. Sara Edge and Joshua Voss told me the job would be 99.9% lab work but there was a possibility of some field work – a carrot in front of me while processing a mountain of samples. This FLoSEE Expedition has been my carrot, the 0.1% field portion of my job! It is a rare opportunity, which I am extremely grateful for, to collect samples of mesophotic reef corals and other benthic invertebrates, experience the habitat where our samples are coming from, and learn about their associated fauna. Continue reading

Ecological Engineering on the West Florida Shelf Edge

Posted on July 26, 2010 by Chris Koenig, Research Associate, Florida State University

Mini biodiversity hotspots pockmark the seafloor of the shelf edge of northwest Florida, appearing like oases in an otherwise featureless sand bottom. These hotspots are rock-filled depressions approximately 15 feet in diameter and 6 feet deep. The rocks are covered with sponges, corals, anemones, crustaceans, and algae, and the depressions are teeming with small fishes in a wide variety of colors and forms. What created these oases? How are they maintained? How old are they? Those were some of the questions my colleagues and I asked ourselves almost 10 years ago when we first discovered them in our initial surveys of Steamboat Lumps Marine Reserve. Continue reading

Hump Day

Posted on July 25, 2010 by M. Dennis Hanisak, Research Professor, HBOI/FAU

Photo of lionfish.

The spread of the invasive lionfish is expanding into the Gulf of Mexico. The CIOERT team found the usually solitary Pacific species gathered in numbers at several JSL dive sites, including this one by scientist Dennis Hanisak and JSL pilot Don Liberatore. This lionfish was one of three found living on and in a ghost fish trap.

Today is hump day for our expedition … halfway through what has been an exciting voyage of research and discovery among Florida’s deep and mesophotic reefs! In the midst of offloading the CNN and BBC crews from the second media leg, and rearranging the berthing and lab space for our incoming Leg 3 scientists, we had a chance to reflect on some of our observations so far. Most of what we have seen is, in fact, good news! Continue reading

Why Is Communicating Science Important?

Posted on July 24, 2010 by Keeley Belva, Public Affairs Office, NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

Photo of CNN's Amber Lyon.

CNN correspondent Amber Lyon climbs through the hatch for a media/science dive in the JSL. Tropical Depression Bonnie had threatened to force cancellation of submersible dives with strong winds and rough seas. Fortunately, the weather laid down enough for the team to accomplish both submersible dives planned for the day.

Scientists that I’ve worked with often ask why they should bother telling people what they do. As a communications person, I often remind them that what they’re working on is really cool and people would be interested in it. It also is harder to get grants if you can’t explain why your work is important, but really it’s bigger than either of those things. Continue reading

Florida Middle Grounds

Posted on July 23, 2010 by Andy Shepard, CIOERT Associate Director, UNCW

Photo of Dr. Larry Robinson.

Dr. Larry Robinson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, joined the science team for a JSL dive on the Florida Middle Grounds. He understands well the importance of the many outreach venues and their relationship to formal education. From 1997 to 2003, Dr. Robinson directed Florida A&M’s Environmental Sciences Institute where he led efforts to establish bachelor and doctoral degree programs.

Tomorrow we are diving today on the Florida Middle Grounds (FMG), a 1,193 km2 area in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, 150 km northwest of Tampa Bay. As described by Coleman et al. (2004), the FMG occurs on an ancient shoreline that can be traced across most of the West Florida Shelf at around 40-50 m depth. FMG, however, is more rugged than most other reefs at similar depths in the region; it is more like the shelf edge reefs in 70-100 m of water that we are exploring. Continue reading

Media Legs

Posted on July 22, 2010 by Andy Shepard, CIOERT Associate Director, UNCW

Photo of NBC team.

The NBC team stands still for a minute for a picture with the ship, submersible, and science crews who helped make their live reporting a huge success. Segments were transmitted for the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and Dateline.

Between Legs 2 and 3 of the FLoSEE expedition, media partners will join us to do several events for public outreach. Partners include: NBC News (Today, Nightly News, Nightline), CNN, BBC, and NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER). Most science missions do not have the time or resources to include the kind of coverage we are lucky to get on the FLoSEE expedition. Continue reading

NBC Nightly News

The FLoSEE expedition was featured on NBC Nightly News!

Watch the video below:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

July 21 Daily Blog

Posted on July 21, 2010 by Priscilla Winder, Postdoctoral Investigator, HBOI/FAU

Photo of Priscilla Winder.

Harbor Branch scientist Priscilla Winder holds up a discarded bottle encrusted with red coralline alga that was collected by the Johnson-Sea-Link submersible on a research dive. The alga will be assessed for bioactivity of pharmaceutical potential. Could the next new wonder drug trace its roots to a reef cleanup measure?

I am happy to take part in the last R/V Seward Johnson research expedition with the Johnson-Sea-Link submersible before she permanently relocates to Brazil. My training is as a natural products chemist, and I have been part of the Biomedical Marine Research team since 2002. I have been fortunate to participate in a number of research cruises using the RVSJ and the JSLs. These multidisciplinary cruises are always very exciting as they are big collaborative efforts to document the habitat and evaluate all the organisms brought up. There are a number of experts on the ship in the fields of fish, coral, and sponges. Continue reading

What Is a Sinkhole?

Posted on July 20, 2010 by Andy Shepard, CIOERT Associate Director, UNCW

Photo of Andy Shepard.

Always ready for any plan, UNCW’s Andy Shepard has donned the required protective gear for launching and recovering the CTD rosette.

Florida has more sinkholes than any other state in the U.S., roughly 2,000 according to the South Florida Water Management District. Perhaps this is not as impressive as having more rivers, lakes, or mountains, but sinkholes are an important part of Florida’s water system. And they can swallow people, cars, buildings, and even lakes! Most of Florida’s lakes sit in sinkhole, or doline formations. The University of Florida provides a good overview of terrestrial sinkholes. Much of the Caribbean region and the Florida platform has a karst geology, carbonate (limestone rocks) cut with crevices, caverns, and canals. Although there are several types of sinkholes based on how they form, they all result from dissolution of the limestone bedrock and subsequent collapse of whatever was above into the cavity. Continue reading

Stephanie’s Bump

Posted on July 19, 2010 by Stephanie Farrington-Rogers, Biologist, HBOI/FAU

Photo of  Lophelia pertusa.

A new discovery: never-before seen Lophelia pertusa coral growing on the West Florida Lithoherm at a depth of over 1,500 feet.

I joined the fathometer transect team on the bridge this morning at 6:30 a.m., as I have been doing most mornings – knowing that today I was going to dive in the aft chamber of the submersible. We watched the fathometer looking for changes in the bottom topography to determine possible dive sites. There are a few areas in the Gulf that have multibeam data available that we had been using this trip to pick specific dive sites, but not today – today we were dealing with a blank map… Continue reading

Marine Protected Areas: Pulley Ridge

Posted on July 18, 2010 by Stacey Harter, Research Ecologist, Panama City Laboratory, National Marine Fisheries

Photo of Stacey Harter.

Research Ecologist Stacey Harter next to a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) like she often uses to survey fish populations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Like shallow tropical coral reefs, mesophotic coral ecosystems support important ecosystem functions, for example, as hotspots for biodiversity and biomass production and as important fish habitat. Like their shallow counterparts, mesophotic ecosystems are affected by human activities. As harvests decline in shallow ecosystems, fishing pressure moves further offshore, thus raising interest in the protection of deep-sea coral ecosystems. This has lead to the increasing use of marine protected areas (MPAs) in recent years. MPAs are areas for which management has implemented fishing restrictions to protect a particular resource. It is our responsibility as researchers to investigate these areas and provide management with the best possible data to determine whether MPAs are an effective management tool. Continue reading

Undergraduate Research

Posted on July 17, 2010 by Dan Rowan, Undergraduate, HBOI/FAU

Photo of Dan Rowan.

Dan Rowan loads SCUBA gear onto the small boat suspended next to the Seward Johnson. Dan is an undergraduate student being mentored by Dr. Joshua Voss.

Three years ago, after watching a documentary on the modern perils of the world’s coral reefs, I moved from my native Michigan to Florida to focus my undergraduate degree in marine ecology. The documentary, which featured video footage of the R/V Seward Johnson and Johnson Sea-Link II submersible operations, inspired me to attend Florida Atlantic University, solely because of its connection with Harbor Branch. At the time, I knew very little about the ocean, so I figured why not learn from some of the best researchers in the field? Continue reading

Meta What?

Posted on July 16, 2010 by Regina Easley, University of South Florida and Denise Gordon, Data Manager, National Coastal Data Development Center

Photo of Denise Gordon and Stephanie Farrington-Rogers.

Denise Gordon (left) is the Data Manager for the cruise, compiling for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the torrent of data and metadata collected each day. She confers with Stephanie Farrington-Rogers about images and data collected during a Johnson-Sea-Link dive on Pulley Ridge.

The FLoSEE expedition is a little different from most ocean expeditions in terms of data collected and managed. As shown on the FLoSEE Data Inventory web page, we have many types of data with varied plans to store the data so they are safe and accessible. For each data set, we also create metadata records. These “data about data” provide vital information about the data sets, which if written correctly, allow someone to better utilize FLoSEE data and collect future data in the same way. Continue reading

Vulnerable Coral Reefs

Posted on July 15, 2010 by M. Dennis Hanisak, Research Professor, HBOI/FAU

Photo of Dennis Hanisak.

Scientist Dennis Hanisak enjoys a good sunrise at sea every day!

The FLoSEE Expedition is enabling us to work on one of the major themes of our NOAA Cooperative Institute – “Vulnerable Deep and Shallow Coral Ecosystems”. We seek to conduct ocean exploration and research using advanced underwater technologies and techniques to improve the understanding of coral and sponge ecosystems. Continue reading

Reflections on Leg 1

Posted on July 14, 2010 by Sara Wood, Chemistry Lab Technician, HBOI/FAU

Photo of Sara Wood.

Sara Wood scrutinizes one of the water samples collected by the CTD.

When asked to reflect on this CIOERT expedition, I did not know where to begin. It has been such a diverse, all-encompassing learning experience that has opened my awareness to a whole new world of possibilities and ideas. I will always be thankful to Dr. Amy Wright and the BMR team for giving me this opportunity to have this fantastic experience. Continue reading

Marine Fisheries

Chris Gardner, Fisheries Biologist II, Panama City Laboratory, National Marine Fisheries

Photo of Chris Gardner.

Chris Gardner of the National Marine Fisheries Service office in Panama City, Florida, is our guide to fish species on Leg 1 of the FLoSEE Expedition.

Chris Gardner is a fish biologist with NOAA’s Fisheries lab in Panama City, Florida. He works for a team at the lab headed by Andy David. Chris and Stacey Harter from the NOAA lab, and Dr. Chris Koenig from Florida State University will serve as our FLoSEE fish team (school?). Chris spends many weeks each year working on boats using drop cameras, fish traps, long-lines, and SCUBA to try and figure out how many reef fish live on shallow and mesophotic deep reefs of the Gulf of Mexico. These “fisheries independent data” are an important part of NOAA Fisheries’ eternal hunt to find enough data for managers to be effective in conserving these essential fish habitats and the resources. Since the DWH spill, Andy David and his team have been working seven days a week to help understand, monitor, and mitigate impacts of the spill — it is their backyard, livelihood, and love for the Gulf at stake. We asked Chris to summarize what he does and why: Continue reading

Mapping Ocean Frontiers

Posted on July 12, 2010 by John Kloske, Manager of Operations, SRI International (a CIOERT Partner)

During the FLoSEE expedition, we are involved in ocean mapping in at least two key ways. We will use the reef information we collect during diving activities to develop habitat maps. And, we use high resolution seafloor maps to help locate and guide our diving operations. Continue reading

Center of Marine Biomedical and Biotechnology Research

Posted on July 11, 2010 by Kathleen Janda, Biological Scientist, and Tara Pitts, Biological Scientist, HBOI/FAU

The goal of the Center of Marine Biomedical and Biotechnology Research (CMBBR) at HBOI/FAU is to isolate novel natural products from sponges, soft corals, and other invertebrates, plus the microbes associated with them from deep-water habitats. This research is accomplished by collecting with the Johnson-Sea-Link (JSL) in up to 3,000 feet of water. The deep-water collections have been BMR’s niche because of the JSL. We do this research to discover cures for diseases such as cancers, bacterial and fungal infections, malaria, and immune diseases. Recently CMBBR has started to explore some of our previously isolated microbes for use in the development of alternative energy sources. Continue reading

JSL II Dive #3771

Posted on July 10, 2010 by Jenny Grima, M.S. Student, HBOI/FAU

My name is Jenny Grima, and I am not SCUBA certified! So when Dr. Shirley Pomponi asked me if I wanted to go for a dive in the Johnson Sea-Link submersible, I was a bit nervous having never gone deeper than I could hold my breath. But I eagerly accepted, knowing it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity…at least for most people. Plus I’m a big fan of The Beatles, so I’m pretty excited that I got the chance to go on a yellow submarine myself today! Continue reading

The Expedition Begins

Posted on July 9, 2010 by Andy Shepard

In 30 years of going to sea on offshore expeditions, I have never seen an expedition as complicated as FLoSEE mobilized as quickly. CIOERT’s decision to move the expedition to explore Florida’s deep reefs from May 2011 to July 2010, motivated by the Deepwater Horizon spill event, certainly began the frenzy. The RV Seward Johnson was set to sail with the research submersible Johnson-Sea-Link II, to Brazil for the ship’s next owners, CEPEMAR, who will be conducting environmental monitoring under a five-year contact with Petrobras, a leader in the Brazilian oil industry. Redirecting all the ship and submersible operations for this month-long effort was a monumental task and testimony to CIOERT partners (FAU, UNCW, the University of Miami, and SRI International), CIOERT’s funding agency NOAA, CEPEMAR, and Petrobras. Continue reading