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Hello Kiddos! Squirt here with another update from the Point Sur!

Yesterday, the crew had a visitor while they were trying to get the nets of the MOCNESS back in the water. This juvenile brown pelican was hanging around the boat looking for an easy meal! Have you seen any brown pelican when you visit the coast?


The team also had some really unique and special finds in the MOCNESS! They were able to pull up a "Deceitful Dreamer." The name, according to fishbase, comes from describing a deceitful little fish that manipulates its prey with the "bait" on its forehead. This fish in particular has only been seen 23 times by people! Isn't that crazy?! To think, that in all the time we've spent researching our oceans, we still haven't discovered or seen many of our discoveries we've made as often as people may think. That's part of the reason why it's so important to maintain the health of our oceans and to continue to study them! After all, you could be the next researcher!


The last fish I'll introduce has an interesting adaptation to living in the depths of the ocean. Meet the Glasshead Barreleye! These fish can see things in the water column directly above them through their primary eyes and they can also see bioluminescence below them by using their curved, mirror-like lenses and retinas below each primary eye. Can you see both sets? These fish live in the twilight zone of the ocean and are one of the few species that does not migrate towards the surface to feed at night, instead it chooses to stay in the depths all day and all night.





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Hey Kids! The DEEPEND cruise has been extremely productive out in the Gulf of Mexico! They've sent me some photos to share with you and I'm so excited about what they've been seeing!

Below we have an Elongated Bristlemouth! Look at those teeth! Did you ever think that so many fish had teeth?! What other fish has DEEPEND seen that have teeth? List them in the comments! You can also clearly see the photophores on the sides of this fish. The scientists have compiled these three images so you can clearly see the teeth, the entire fish and its photophores. Do you remember when we talked about photophores?


The crew also has the chance to see some colorful fish! Below we have a more shallow species most commonly called a Rainbow Yellowtail. Scientists aren't really creative when it comes to naming things, huh?! What would you name this fish?


The team also saw a lot of bioluminescence in the water during one of their night trawls. It urns out that they were seeing Pyrosomes. Each pyrosome is a colony of animals called tunicates which are related to sea squirts. They actually form a tube that can pump water to allow them to migrate up to the surface or down into the depths of the Gulf.


Don't forget to follow the ship! You can see exactly where the team is in the Gulf of Mexico on the home page. We have also been updating our Instagram! If you'd like to see more images from our team, follow us at deepend_gom!


That's all for now! I can't wait to see what the scientists have in store for us tomorrow!


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Hey Kids, Squirt here with some exciting news!

DEEPEND will be going out on cruise number five on April 29th!

The scientist are excited to be getting back into the Gulf of Mexico and have been preparing all their equipment! Each lab has to figure out which people will be on the vessel to represent them and they each have a specific list of tasks they are to accomplish while at sea. This time around our scientist will not touch the port until May 12th, so they are spending two week on the vessel!

Check back in and keep up with us during the cruise to see daily updates from our favorite scientists!









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Hey Kids!

 This spectacular squid turns two years old today! Squirt has taught us a lot of new things over the last two years and we hope to continue to learn form him and celebrate his birthday! Feel free to wish Squirt a very Happy Birthday in the comments section!



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Hey Kids!

Just checking in to wish everyone a happy holiday!


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Squirt here with some exciting news!

Some of the scientists that work with DEEPEND will be at the Ft. Lauderdale boat show all weekend long! The show will be taking place at the Coral Reef Pavillion, Bahia Mar. DEEPEND will have special presentations from 11 in the morning until three in the afternoon each day where they will share information about the deep-sea organisms that live in the Gulf of Mexico.


The show starts on Friday, November 4th and ends on Sunday, November 6th!

Come out and play some games for an opportunity to win prizes! All teachers should also stop by our booth for a token of our appreciation!


We hope to see you there!





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Hey kids, Squirt here to talk about my favorite week! Cephalopod awareness week!


This week is all about celebrating and learning about the different cephalopods that live in our oceans! Since the DEEPEND team does all their work in the Gulf of Mexico, we will highlight some of the cephalopods they have captured there.

The first one on our list is called the Orangeback flying squid! This species of squid gets its name because it can jump out of the water and glide like flying fishes! It's also one of the squids we would think of as a "normal" squid. You can see it below!


The bobtail squid is a smaller species that migrates to the surface of the water at night in order to catch prey. Below you can see a picture of an adult bobtail squid!


Next on our list is the firefly squid. It is considered the smallest of the squids and it's covered in biolumenescent photophores! We talked about the firefly squid in our first video. Do you remember?

If not, you can watch the video here;


The firefly squid uses counter-illumination to match the background light so that predators swimming below cannot see the shadows from the squid swimming above.

Last, but not least, is the glass squid! Did you know that I'm actually a glass squid too? We are a special bunch that moves pretty slowly. We can escape and hide from predators because we are so "see through." Which one is your favorite?

Until next time!






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Hey Kids! Squirt here with more updates from the Point Sur! The scientists are almost done with their trip but we still have some amazing things to learn about!

Below we can see the face of a Spotlight Lanternfish. It's thought that these lanternfish use the light on their heads to help them locate prey. This lanternfish was trawled from between 700 meters and 1,000 meters in depth.  



Below we have a big red shrimp! This shrimp can store ammonia in their body to help with buoyancy ot the ability to float in water!




Here we have a close up of the hatchetfish. Look at those eyes! These fish are interesting because they use counter-illumination tactics to hide themselves from predators. You can find out more about counter-illumination from our video here;



Last, but not least, we have the Sloan's viperfish! Look at those large teeth! In fact, their teeth are so large that they actually have grooves on top of their heads just to be able to close their mouths! Can you imagine having teeth that large?



Can you think of any special adaptations that other animals use to help them survive? List them below!




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Hey Kids! The DEEPEND scientists are still going strong in the Gulf of Mexico! The team has officially been at sea for twelve days and they are extremely excited to share their updates with us!


Below we have a juvenile anglerfish! You can see that the "fishing rod and lure" has just formed on its forehead but it hasn't developed any adult coloration yet.



The scientist have also seen some beautiful deep water amphipods on this trip. This species in particular lives on jellyfish!



Below we have the biggest helmet jellyfish I've ever seen! This deep sea jellyfish is a vertical migrator, which means it actually lives deep down in the ocean, but migrates up to shallower waters at night to feed on plankton. It also has bioluminescent properties which allows it to communicate.


The scientists also bought up this bristlemouth ( image below) that has a parasitic copepod on its back! These parasites are also commonly found on the back of hatchetfish.



Until next time!



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Hey Kids! Squirt here with more updates from the cruise!

Look at this adult female anglerfish! This was an exciting find for the scientists because she is so large! These fish are normally around the size of a golf ball but this lady was a total of six inches! That's half the size of your ruler! While this may seem small for you and I, in comparison to other fish of the same species, it's actually a size record! The other interesting thing about this female anglerfish is that she has a male attached to her! If you look closely at the bottom left side of her body you can see the male. The male anglerfish of this species are parasitic on the females, meaning that they will bite the female and hold on. Eventually, the male's lips will become permanently attached, and is then sustained by the female and only used for reproductive purposes.


These anglerfish are also the only group of fishes that evolved two entirely different bioluminescence systems. The "beard" that hangs off the fishe's chin glows in the dark by light produce by the fish itself. The lure on her head is called symbiotic bioluminescence, meaning its light is produced by bacteria on the lure, not the fish itself. It is extremely rare to have both biolominescence systems!



Time to welcome back some fish we've met before! Say hello to the moonfish! These fish are usually found out at sea as juveniles. As adults they can be found closer to the shore.



Let's not forget to welcome the telescope fish! We've talked about them before in a previous blog post! You can find it here;

This fish was trawled from between 1,200 and 1,500 meters in depth!


Until the next update! Thank you for following us on our journey through the deep!


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Hello everyone! Squirt here with more updates from the Gulf of Mexico! 


Here we can see the the two blue propeller washes behind the ship. Look at how they glow! There are all kinds of life forms flashing and glowing in the water including jellyfish, shrimp, and siphonophores. Many of these life forms glow when they are touched or caught up in the sudden movement, like the current that was created by the ship's propellers. Pretty neat huh? 


To think that the glowing blue water is actually made up of animals!

Speaking of fish that produce light and glow in the dark. Check out this Lampfish! This one has a row of electric blue scales along its dorsum! Also known as the back of the fish! 



I have one more fish to introduce you to.

Meet the telescope fish! These guys use their incredible teeth to eat other fish! Their eyes are also especially adapted to locate other fish in the deep sea. In the top portions of the picture you can see the larval (baby) stages of this fish. Down at the bottom you can see the adult. 



That's all for today, but if you have questions for any of the scientists, feel free to leave a comment! 





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As I was preparing for our next research cruise I received a very exciting letter in the mail! In fact, it was more than just a letter…it was Flat Stanley! ( He wants to join us on our research cruise. How could I say no? He travels light, does not take up much space, and will not require any extra food! Better yet, he has decided to join us in the van while we drive the gear from Dania Beach, FL to Gulfport, MS where the RV Point Sur is docked. It will be good to have him out there with us to show him all of the cool shrimp, squid, and fish that we collect. If we happen to lose any of our tools in tight spaces he will be able to fish them out for us! We’ve set him up with his own blog profile so that he can blog about his experiences with you guys! So keep checking back between April 27th and May 14th to learn about his first official deep-sea cruise!

b2ap3_thumbnail_Flat-Stanley-2.jpg            b2ap3_thumbnail_FS-at-computer-2.jpg

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Larval eels (leptocephali) don't look much like the eels that into which they will transform. DEEPEND is busy cataloguing all of the larval eels we encounter during our cruises. 


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Hey Kids! The spots on the side of this fish are called photophores. Photophores can produce light. Among many possible uses, photophores might assist fish with identifying their own species or in finding mates. These photophores were found on a viperfish! 

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Hey Kids! Squirt here to talk about blind lobsters! 



Blind lobsters spend their larval (baby) stage in the water column. Once they mature to a specific stage, they begin to sink through the water column. As adults they live on the sea floor. DEEPEND scientists are still running tests in their labs to see what these lobsters look like as adults! Stay tuned! 

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It has been such an amazing year working with the DEEPEND scientists, and I'm excited to see what else they have in store! Thank you to everybody who continues to follow everything we are doing! Help us celebrate Squirt's birthday by sharing this post, or leaving a comment! 

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Larval, or baby, fishes are common in our trawls.  This is a larval reef inhabiting anglerfish (Antennariidae), also known as frogfishes.




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Good afternoon everyone! Did you know that animals are divided into two main groups? These two groups are the invertebrates and the vertebrates. Today we will focus on invertebrates. An invertebrate is an animal that does not have a backbone (spine). Some examples of an invertebrate are dragonflies, clams, and worms. Most of Earth's animals are invertebrates! Some scientists think that 97% of all animals are invertebrates. That's a lot!

Let's take a closer look at some invertebrates that live in the Gulf of Mexico. These invertebrates were caught during the August 2015 DEEPEND cruise!

Check out the eyes on this crab:


Wow, this shrimp is very colorful:


Look at the pinchers on this lobster:


I can't believe I get to share my home with all of these amazing invertebrates. Scientists think the giant squid is the largest invertebrate on Earth. Even though I'm a different squid species, I'm also an invertebrate! That's all for today, thanks for joining me!


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