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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.
Hey Kids! Squirt here with more updates from the DEEPEND crew!
The scientists have been at sea for an entire week now but the weather has not been working in their favor. There's a video that we received from the DEEPEND team that I'd like you to see! Unfortunately I haven't been able to pull it away from our FaceBook page so if you're not following us yet, you can find it under this link; https://www.facebook.com/deependconsortium/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
In the video, you can clearly see a crew member struggling to retrieve and secure the sonar equipment. The team that we send out has to be extremely dedicated to the work they are doing. Imagine having to work while the weather is causing ten-foot waves! It's only the first week of the cruise so I sure do hope the weather settles down.
Although the weather has been difficult, our scientists have managed to sample their chosen locations (on and off) just like before.
Below you can see a Smalleye Squaretail. These fish feeds on jellyfish and salps!
The team has also spotted another Velvet Whalefish! This whalefish (below) feeds on crustaceans! This fish in particular was close to eight inches in length and was trawled between 1,000 and 1,200 meters in depth!
The team also ran into one of my cousins! Meet another deep-sea squid!
Here is a close-up of a tentacle!
That's all for now! Let's hope the weather calms down for the team!
Hey Kids, Squirt here to introduce Dr. Tamara Frank!
Listen as she talks about the largest migration on the planet, her work with DEEPEND, and how she struggled to break into the marine biology world! She is part of our crustacean team that studies animals like crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp and krill.
Below are some of the images of crustaceans we've pulled up with our MOCNESS during our research cruises!
Did you have any questions for Dr.Frank?
Leave them in the comments below!
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; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzZWWyimUGI
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!
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!
Her kids! Squirt here with some interesting updates from the scientists! This is the first DEEPEND cruise the scientists actually catch some of these fish! I'm so excited to see what they have to show us!
Here we have a Threadfin Dragonfish! It was pulled from between 1,200 and 1,500 meters in depth!
Look at the barbel on its chin and those photophores. Those teeth can't be missed either! These fish use those teeth to be able to capture their prey properly!
Here we have a Duckbill Oceanic Eel! These eels have an incredible rostrum, or beaklike mouth, that probably evolved to feed on crustaceans. This eel was trawled from between 1,200 and 1,500 meters in depth.
Can you guess how it gets its name? What does the shape of its mouth remind you of?
It looks almost like a duck to me!
Last, but not least, scientist pulled up the undistinguished Sabertooth. The enormous teeth on this fish help make sure they capture their prey. These fish feed on other fish! This one was an interesting catch because it was trawled between the surface of the water and 200 meters in depth! Of course, it was caught at night!
I can't wait to see what other fish the scientist have to introduce!
Until next time!
Hey Kids, Squirt here to give you some details on how hard the DEEPEND scientists work!
So what is a typical day like? We usually get nets coming up to the surface on the threes so at 3am and 3pm. It takes anywhere from three to six hours to process the nets. There are six nets per trawl and each net is opened at a different depth. Here are some photos of some of the scientists on board the Point Sur.
Below we have Dr. Sutton identifying some of the smaller specimens!
The scientist alsoenjoy three square meals a day from the amazing kitchen crew on the Point Sur!
Sleep is usually the hardest adjustment for the scientists because of the net times and the way the sleep windows are divided. The scientists can get five or six hours of sleep but its going to be broken into two shorter sleeping times. It's all worth it though! These are great people and these opportunities give us a chance to catalogue the biodiversity of the Gulf of Mexico!
Below we have one of the goliaths of the deep- a giant amphipod! We get these fairly regular in the deeper tows. The entire head of these amphipods is comprised of giant eyes. Does it remind you of anything?
Below we can see the eyes a little closer!
Until next time!
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; http://www.outreach.deependconsortium.org/index.php/kids-blog/entry/glowing-water
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!
Squirt here with another small update!
In this picture you can see all the scientists that were working on the cruise to identify all the things the MOCNESS brought up. It's a time consuming process that includes weighing, measuring, labeling, and taking DNA samples to prove they have been identified correctly! While a lot of the work is done on the ship and at sea, there just isn't enough time to finish all the work that has to be done. Many of the scientists will label and freeze their samples so that they can continue the work in their own labs!
Here is one of the fish that was taken back to the University Lab! This is a Bluntsnout Smooth-head, trawled from between the surface and 1500 meters deep! The red spots below his eye are true photophores (they produce light). The photophores are spread all over its body.
The scientists also pulled up this larval (baby) blind lobster!
Being a researcher is a lot of work! Even though the cruise just recently ended there is still a lot of work to be done to prepare for the next cruise! That's all for now! If you have a question, please leave it in the comments below!
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!
Hey guys! Squirt here!
Have you enjoyed all the updates from my friend Flat Stanley? I know he is having a lot of fun learning from all the scientists out at sea! They have had a little trouble connecting to the internet but I have some cool updates to share with you!
Check out this juvenile (young) Flying Fish they encountered! I'm sure Flat Stanley was so excited to see this!
Here is an adult Flying Fish!
I guess now you can see why they call them flying fish? They look like they have wings, just like birds! Flying fish don't actually fly but they can glide above the water for a while! I hear that several landed on the boat while Flat Stanley and the scientists were out!
Flat Stanley also had the chance to meet the Cock-Eyed Squid! These wonderful squids get their name because they have one eye larger than the other. You can also see the beautiful colors and photophores (light producing organs) on this squid.
I'm so excited to see what else Flat Stanley and the scientists have in store for us.
Until next time!
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! (http://www.flatstanleybooks.com/) 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!
Some deep water shrimps release glowing fluid when startled by potential predators! This process is believed to be a defensive mechanism wherein the glowing blue cloud of material distracts the predator while the shrimp moves in the opposite direction. Can you think of some other ways animals have developed defense mechanisms? Leave them in the comments below!
Ever wonder what a day is like on board the R/V Point Sur? I'm here to tell! The scientists on the R/V Point Sur spend a lot of time working and sleeping!
As the R/V Point Sur travels the Gulf of Mexico the scientists work hard to sample each site both during the night and day. Every night the scientists deploy the MOCNESS nets between 9 and 10pm. The nets stay in the water until 3am when the scientists pull them back up. They then repeat this process each morning. Every morning the scientists deploy the MOCNESS nets between 9 and 10am, pulling them back in at 3pm.
While the MOCNESS nets are in the water most of the scientists are sleeping. The MOCNESS operator Mr. Gray controls and monitors the nets during this time. The scientists wake up shortly before the nets are pulled back up because then their work starts. Once the nets are on board the scientists empty and process the catches.
Mr. Gray controlling the MOCNESS nets.
Mr. Gray bringing the MOCNESS nets back on board.
Ms. Tammy and Ms. Heather wait for the MOCNESS nets to come back up.
MOCNESS nets back on board.
Sorting the catches!
While the other scientists start sorting the catches scientists Charles Kovach and Travis Richards deploy the CTD to measure water conductivity and temperature at different depths.
After all of the morning work is done the scientists enjoy breakfast, usually at 6am. They then try to watch the sunrise! I'm sure the sunrises look pretty from the boat. Then the scientists take a nap before afternoon work begins. In the afternoon the scientists work on blog posts and input data from the morning catches. Dinner is served at 6pm on board the R/V Point Sur. After which the scientists spend some time relaxing. Some scientists nap while others watch a movie or read a book.
Check out some more images here: http://outreach.deependconsortium.org/index.php/public/kids/slideshows
All this talk of sleeping is making me tired! I think I'll go take a snooze. Until next time my friends.
It's not always smooth sailing out in the Gulf of Mexico. This is a waterspout; in the photos moving left to right you can see how it formed and how it ended. Although some of these can be dangerous, this one did not do any damage to our team out at sea. Whew!
The weather didn't stop our team from using the MONESS nets! Take a look at some of the catch.
Can you believe that both photos are of Bobtail Squid? Both of these are adults and this is as big as they grow!
The MOCNESS nets also brought up another type of Dragonfish (Idiacanthus fasciola). This Dragonfish is a female. Males don't get the barbel and bioluminescent bulb hanging off of their chins. Can you see the bioluminescent photophores on her sides? Those spots glow in the dark and most likely help these fish recognize the same species and the opposite sex. The bulb at the end of her barbel glows to attract her food. The barbel is attached to her chin, see?
That's all for today! Comment below if you have any questions. We hope to hear from you!
Good morning everyone! I'm here today to talk about some predators the MOCNESS nets have caught in the past week. We have seen some of these fish before, but I'm always excited to see them again.
First up is the fangtooth, Anoplogaster cornuta. The fangtooth is one of the biggest predators in the deep ocean. I think his name is fitting, just look at those sharp teeth! The large bottom fangs of this fish are so long that the fish actually has a pair of holes in the roof of their mouth that allows the fish to close its mouth without hurting itself. That's really cool, don't you think?
Next we have some dragonfish. We've seen dragonfish before. On this cruise the scientists have caught two species: Photostomias guernei and Echiostoma barbatum. Just like the fangtooth, dragonfish also have fang-like teeth. Do you notice how the teeth curve a little bit? This curve helps the dragonfish hold onto its prey. Dragonfish are covered with gorgeous photophores. If you don't remember what photophores are check out the blog post from May 21, 2015! Ms. Alisha Stahl, our teacher at sea for this cruise, and Ms. Katie Bowen, a student, aren't scared to hold the dragonfish. Check out the pictures below!
What do you all want to learn about next? Let me know by using the comments link!
Let's take a look at these fish the MOCNESS nets brought up! This deep water fish is usually found between 1,460m and 3,500m. This is a juvenile, or not yet an adult. If you look closely it's almost like they don't have eyes. These fish actually have what remains of photoreceptive tissue, so instead of having eyes like we do, their eyes are beneath their bones. The "eyes" have no lenses but they can detect light. Can you picture it? It's like when you close your eyes on a really sunny day. You can still "see" some of the light, right? Try it next time you're outside.
Here is another fish with different eyes! This deep water fish has eyes that face towards the surface of the water and are adapted to see faint light or to key in on bioluminescence. We've talked about bioluminescence before, do you remember?
Leave a comment below If you have any questions for our scientists! Until next time!
Did the scientists just catch an alien?! No, it's just a deep sea amphipod! Amphipods are really interesting little creatures. They are crustaceans. We've talked about crustaceans like the blind lobster before.
This amphipod is from the species Phronima. It has really large claws! This amphipod species uses its large claws to prey on zooplankton, jellies, and siphonophores. The amphipod not only eats these creatures, but collects resources from them to build the barrel we see. Check out the image below, do you see the barrel shape surrounding the amphipod? This is a semi-hard gelatinous barrel - it kind of feels like a gummy bear. The barrel seems to be the amphipods' home providing protection and camouflage. That's really cool!
Also, take a close look at the amphipod. Do you see those BIG eyes? The species Paraphronima gracilis has 16 retinas in each eye! We only have one retina in each eye. Image if you had 16 retinas in one eye. Check out the amphipod video below!
It's amazing what unique creatures the scientists are finding in the deep sea. I wonder what the MOCNESS nets will catch next.
The scientists have been pulling up some really neat animals! Here we have a Orangeback flying Squid! This species can jump out of the water and glide, just like flying fishes! How exciting!
The scientist have also collected a few different species of shrimp! In this photo we have a shrimp "in berry" which means she is keeping her eggs underneath her tail. In the top left corner you can take a closer look at her tail! On the bottom right is a photo of scientists Dante Fenolio holding this beautiful shrimp!
The photo above is a larval shrimp, or a young shrimp, that has not reached the adult life stage.