ECOGIG "Jewels of the Gulf" blog

6/22/17: That's a wrap!

A deep sea octopus imaged on one of our dives! Incredible photo capture credit goes to Fanny Girard, an ECOGIG graduate student at Pennsylvania State University.

Click here for general information about the 2017 Jewels of the Gulf: Deepwater Expedition!

Thanks to the arrival of Tropical Storm Cindy, our Jewels of the Gulf expedition ended a couple of days early. The captain and crew of Oceaneering's Ocean Intervention II made sure that we arrived back in Port Fourchon, LA ahead of the storm, and everyone on board made it back to their respective home institutions safe and sound! 

Despite heading back to port 3 days early, our science team accomplished the majority of the goals they set out to do - we were generally ahead of schedule the entire time! In total we completed 12 ROV dives, imaged hundreds of deep sea corals plus collected multiple live coral samples, sediment samples and water samples. It was a whirlwind operation - everyone worked hard all hours of the day and night to make sure we were meeting all of our goals!

USGS researcher Amanda Demopoulos works to remove push cores from the ROV after a dive. Photo courtesy of Allison Randolph.

We worked hard to connect the research being done with the public in a variety of ways. All of our ROV dives were live streamed to YouTube and the researchers on board narrated portions of each dive via a microphone connected to the live stream. These live stream events are hosted on ECOGIG’s YouTube channel for anyone to watch at any time. Two Facebook Live videos were successfully broadcast from the ship to audiences around the world - one hosted by Ocean Allison’s Facebook account, the other hosted by Mission Blue’s Facebook account.

We also connected (via Google Hangouts) with classrooms across the United States and internationally! We were able to interact with over 400 students in California, Alabama, South Africa and Colombia (ranging from elementary to college age) to answer student questions about the research.

A live Q&A session via Google hangout with kids in San Diego, CA! Photo courtesy of Neal Taunt.

We had a great time and are excited at how much we were able to accomplish on this cruise!! Stay tuned for more, as Jewels of the Gulf is not over just because the cruise is!! A podcast episode featuring Chief Scientist Dr. Iliana Baums will air on Ocean Allison’s podcast July 5th, 2017. Three educational videos as well as a documentary short film about the research will also be available later in 2017.

You can view photos and videos from the expedition on our Facebook page!

6/11/17: Headed Out to Sea

Our 16 person ECOGIG science team standing on the bow of our ship just before leaving port. Photo courtesy of Allison Randolph.

Click here for general information about the 2017 Jewels of the Gulf: Deepwater Expedition!

Today marks the first day of our “Jewels of the Gulf” Expedition! After much preparation getting the science equipment and the ship ready to go, we shoved off the dock in Port Fourchon, Louisiana around 3:30pm, headed out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Aboard the ship are 16 scientists and 24 crew, adding up to a total of 40 people aboard the ship. We’ll be offshore for the next two weeks aboard Oceaneering's vessel “Ocean Intervention II” exploring and studying the deep sea. To learn more about some of our researchers, visit our “meet the scientists” post. 

MSV (Multi-Service Vessel) Ocean Intervention II. This 254ft Oceaneering ship is fully equipped with all the gear our team needs to study the deep sea Gulf of Mexico. Photo courtesy of Allison Randolph.

Starting tomorrow morning we’ll be using a remotely operated vehicle, the Global Explorer, to image deep sea corals and their surrounding ecosystems in order to monitor how they are continuing to be affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In addition to imaging the corals, at each study site the ROV will be performing a number of different tasks, from sediment sampling to water collection and more. 

We invite anyone and everyone to tune in to our live YouTube feed broadcasting directly from the ROV while it explores the deep sea. And follow ECOGIG on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates throughout the expedition!

2017 “Jewels of the Gulf” expedition map. Tonight we leave Port Fourchon, Louisiana and will visit each one of the light blue study sites depicted in the map.


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