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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!
Squirt here to talk about bacteria!
Bacteria are microscopic organisms that can thrive in many different types of environments, including our oceans! Bacteria have a bad reputation for making people sick, but they can also be incredibly helpful.
For example; some anglerfish (seen above) cannot produce their own light. Remember, bioluminescence is a chemical process that allows an animal to produce its own light. So how do these anglerfish get their glow? Anglerfish actually borrow their light from bacteria! These tiny bacteria, called Photobacterium, live in the anglerfish's esca, or lure. In exchange the bacteria gains protection and nutrients as the fish swims through the ocean. Pretty neat, huh?
This is also a great example of a symbiotic relationship! A symbiotic relationship is a type of interaction between different species. Sometimes they're beneficial and sometimes they're harmful, but these relationships are essential to many organisms and ecosystems, and they provide a balance that can only be achieved by working together.
Did you know that DEEPEND has a special team that studies these bacteria? Lindsey Freed and Dr.Joe Lopez are working on determining the species of bacteria found on these lures because it turns out that each anglerfish species actually has a unique species of bacterium it's paired with!
No one really knows how many different species of luminescent bacteria there are in total or how these anglerfishes are getting their bacteria in the first place. So far, there are tow different ideas. Either there are bacteria floating around in the ocean waiting to be picked up by the correct anglerfish species, or, these fish are being introduced to this bacteria by their parent during their larval stage (seen below).
Which method do you think anglerfish are collecting their bacteria?
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!
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; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzZWWyimUGI
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!
Have you enjoyed our updates from the scientists? Everyone has just returned to their labs and is working on their individual data-sets. In the previous posts we've seen a lot of images of the physical collection of organisms, but another one of the key components to the DEEPEND research is the collection of sound data! It's called bio-acoustics and it's another form of taking data that turns sounds into pictures for us to see! Ben, from Florida International University, was on the last cruise working the acoustics and was able to use the data to determine how many organisms were in the water. He is also able to tell us which different organisms were out in the water when he took his data. In order to collect his data, he sends different sound frequencies and pulse lengths through the water to identify fish and crustaceans. He can also track migration patterns of different organisms and is hoping to determine why certain patterns exist.
In the early morning, before the sun has started to rise, a mass migration of organisms swims from the epipelagic layer (sunlight zone) down to the mesopelagic layer (twilight zone). If you need a reminder on the layers of the ocean, you can view it here; http://www.outreach.deependconsortium.org/index.php/kids-blog/entry/diving-into-the-deep
The migration cycle also takes place at night, but in the opposite direction! The same organisms will migrate up from the mesopelagic layer (twilight zone) to the epipelagic layer (sunlight zone) to feed throughout the night. Using multiple sonars, scientists can determine the different groups of animals through their own "acoustic fingerprint", or echo that each group of organisms produces when pinged at different frequencies. In the image below you can see the different groups highlighted in different colors and their migration patterns that were recorded over a 24 hour period in the Northern Gulf of Mexico.
In this echogram (pictured below) a school of larger animals were observed swimming through an area of high biomass, or (an area with a lot of organisms) the brighter color shows us the large concentration of organisms. Scientists think that the large animals pictured in this area were foraging, or searching for food! Pretty interesting to see it taking place, and all through sounds!
If you have any questions for the DEEPEND scientists, or Ben, please leave a comment! Until next time!