Log Post: Hunting Red Algal Blooms

Dr. Michael Wetz, along with his undergraduate students are collecting water samples throughout the water column using a CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth) sensor. A Profiling CTD measures water parameters as it travels through the water as it is lowered over the stern of the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Research Vessel Falkor. As the CTD travels … Continued

Log Post: Underway to Artificial Reefs

Does the word artificial mean “not real”?  Not in the case of artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico.  Artificial reefs are definitely real to the sea life inhabiting those reefs.  Dr. Greg Stunz and Dr. Matt Ajemian are conducting research aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor to survey a series of artificial reefs … Continued

Log Post: Banks Withdrawal

“I think the images we have now are going to astound some people when they see what’s down there.” That’s Wes Tunnell’s assessment of the video and photos we’ll be returning to shore with tomorrow. There had been brief views during limited past work in the region, but for the most part, says Tunnell, people … Continued

Log Post: A Fine Final Dive

It was a fitting end to ROV operations for the expedition. Our final dive had the clearest water, the most spectacular scenes, and some of the best biological finds. We were diving on a previously unmapped bank affectionately dubbed Tom’s Nob, after safety officer Tom Bills, who was on duty as the first signs of … Continued

Log Post: Third Dimension’s the Charm

“Do you like it?” Asked Toshi Mikagawa, one of the ROV engineers from Deep Sea Systems International, and indeed I did. I was looking at the 3D feed from the company’s Ocean Explorer ROV. Just as it was designed to do, the 3D video gave the feeling that I was actually moving past the corals … Continued

Log Post: Fins to the Left, Fins to the Right

We finally found a major shipwreck. It’s in about 100 feet of water and it’s huge. I must say, though, the fact that it was sunk there on purpose a few years back, and that its location is well known, did dampen the excitement a touch. Mapping the wreck of the Texas Clipper, sunk as … Continued

Log Post: An Island in the Beam

“Oh, wow, Nathan are you getting this?” marine tech Jimbo Duncan called across the room to his counterpart. On the screen, the sonar system was spitting out the first ever map of a large bank probably known before now only to a few fishermen. But it was the big, dark blue spot coming up that … Continued

Log Post: The Rise of the Rubble

Yesterday I joked about a mystery at Mysterious Bank, but today we came on something of a real mystery. It happened about midway through an 8-hour ROV dive at a spot called Dream Bank. The views were a little dull at the base of the bank, but as we made our way up, the slope … Continued

Log Post: Dolphins, a Dream, and the Mysterious

“Let’s give them a little challenge,” said chief mate Niklas Pfaff. Then he gunned the engine on Falkor’s jet boat, Atreyu, and we sped away from the ship. The challenge was for a pod of a dozen or so dolphins, and they were more than able to keep up. For the next twenty minutes even … Continued

Log Post: Don’t Look Away, You Might Miss Something

I was sure we had found a shipwreck with a pile of gold coins fully visible, or at the very least a very large shark. The cheers coming from the control room were just so loud. I was sitting in the room next door and though there was an ROV monitor in front of me, … Continued