Current Status


Species sampling is critical to ocean scientists in helping them obtain all kinds of information; there are many criteria such as diet, life span, reproduction and growth that can only be determined by a live animal. This knowledge can help assess risk of extinction and provide a baseline on the health of the ecosystem, especially in very remote and hard to get to regions of the ocean that are not accessed frequently.

Sampling in the ocean today is mostly performed the same way it was 30 years ago, and can sometimes be inefficient and destructive to fragile organisms. A significant amount of deep-sea species remain undescribed simply because they cannot be returned to the surface in good condition for taxonomic inspection…until now. Co – Principal Investigators Brennan Phillips (University of Rhode Island), Kakani Katija (MBARI), Robert Wood (Harvard University), David Gruber (City University of New York/Baruch College), and their teams of interdisciplinary researchers have been working on new technology that allows them to study species in situ, something that has never been done before.

This technology trial will give opportunities to the science and engineering team to refine their process and equipment for an upcoming Falkor expedition in 2020. Many of the systems that they are working with are quite involved and complicated, and gaining experience with the instruments in the midwater regions will be paramount to future expeditions’ successful implementation. They anticipate that their work will set a new benchmark for future midwater expeditions and pave the way for a device that combines all of their technologies into a singular solution for specimen characterization.

Read more about the research and keep up with its blogs here.

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