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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.
Good morning everyone! Squirt here to tell you about autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) gliders! An autonomous underwater vehicle is a robot that operates on its own. Scientist Charles Kovach deployed an AUV Glider from the R/V Point Sur on Sunday August 9th.
The AUV Glider will travel around in waters of the Gulf of Mexico until Sunday August 23rd at which point the R/V Point Sur team will retrieve it. The scientists will be able to find the AUV Glider by using GPS. You can track the AUV Glider here http://gcoos2.tamu.edu/gandalf/
The scientists will also communicate with the AUV Glider and tell it to return to the surface. That bright yellow color should be hard to miss!
As it travels the AUV Glider will collect data for the scientists. It will go up and down the water column surfacing every three hours. As it goes up and down the AUV glider will record information on the temperature, dissolved oxygen concentration, amount of salt, ability of the water to conduct electricity, cloudiness of the water, and dissolved organic matter. The scientists will use this information to learn more about the ocean ecosystem.
This cruise keeps getting more exciting! Until next time.
The MOCNESS nets are in the water! The scientists deployed the nets for two hours in the early morning hours. The nets sampled the top 200 meters of the water column. Once back onboard the scientists emptied the nets and began sorting.
The scientists found many animals in the nets including dragonfish, lanternfish, eels, crustaceans (shrimp, lobsters, etc.), pteropods (Sea Butterflies), a cephalopod, and planktonic larvae. We have seen some of these before! Check out the pteropods and crustaceans below.
I can't wait to see what the scientists have to share with us next!
Exciting news! Another cruise is scheduled to set sail on Friday August 7th! Scientists are traveling from all around the United States to meet in Gulfport, Mississippi. Some of the scientists are traveling a long distance to join the cruise. When all the scientists arrive in Mississippi they will work together to load equipment onto the R/V Point Sur. The cruise will be at sea for three weeks. Stay tuned for updates from the scientists and Squirt!
Did you know that dolphins can reach speeds of 40km per hour? That's as fast as an African Bush Elephant! Have you ever seen an elephant run? That's pretty fast.
While dolphins can swim that fast, they usually swim 5 to 10km per hour. That's how fast a Tiger Beetle crawls! Scientist Dante Fenolio took a video of dolphins swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, let's take a look. Can you keep track of the dolphins as they swim?