Dynamics of Sinking Microplastics

Plastic pollution is pervasive in our Ocean. The most prevalent component of plastic pollution isn’t large pieces of trash floating on the surface, but tiny bits of waste called “microplastics” that are found throughout the water column. Ranging from 5 mm in diameter (a pencil eraser) down to 1 µm (a tenth of a hair’s … Continued

Hydrothermal Vents of the Western Galápagos

In 1977, scientists at the Eastern Galápagos Spreading Center uncovered an ecosystem that changed our conception of life—hydrothermal vents. In the crushing darkness of the deep sea, life thrives on these vents  as bacteria facilitate a whole food web by converting chemicals, rather than sunlight, into energy. Hydrothermal vents threw open the door to new … Continued

The Underworld of Hydrothermal Vents

An important mechanism in ocean ecology is dispersal—– tides, currents, winds, and waves move larvae from one place to another with the potential to create new communities. While dispersal is well studied and understood in shallow ecosystems, how dispersal works for many hydrothermal vent species is yet to be determined. Dr. Monika Bright and her … Continued

Octopus Odyssey

The west coast of Costa Rica is home to numerous seamounts— underwater mountains that facilitate stunning biodiversity in the deep sea. While some of these seamounts have been explored, and a  few of these are protected by the Costa Rican government, others remain minimally studied, especially along the northwestern edge of the Pacific Ocean Margin. … Continued

Designing the Future 2

Dr. Phillips and his team are looking to create a paradigm shift in how researchers perform midwater exploration. The ‘twilight’, or mesopelagic zone, is receiving renewed interest from the oceanographic community. There are numerous undescribed species dwelling in the pelagic zone beneath the limits of technical SCUBA diving, and improved survey methods have highlighted the biomass that exists in the twilight zone and beyond.

Exploring Fronts with Multiple Robots

When you build a house, you do not use only a hammer, but a variety of specialized tools in an organized and collaborative manner to construct a complex structure.

Voyage to the White Shark Café

The Mariana region is home to the Mariana subduction system. This November, scientists shed light on the Mariana back-arc spreading center looking for new sites of hydrothermal activity.