IEEE Earthzine’s Jenny Woodman is blogging from the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus. Read more about her journey here.
For our first dive, we’re heading out to Bodega Canyon in Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary. The sanctuary was established in 1989 and expanded in 2015 and much of the 1,286 square mile area is unexplored. The canyon we are heading to ranges in depth from about 500 to 3,000 meters, according to Dani Lipski, lead scientist for this expedition; she is also the research coordinator for the sanctuary.
When the remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) are deployed, Lipski and her team will be looking for rocky spots along the ocean floor that are likely host to coral and sponge communities. Using ROV Hercules, the science team will collect biological samples for identification and water samples to monitor for pollutants and any changes in chemistry.
“We know a bit about the productivity; Cordell Bank is a hotspot for marine mammals and seabirds,” said Cordell Bank Education and Outreach Coordinator Jenny Stock. “It’s kind of cool we’re getting to go down below and see what’s there.”
My watch will be noon-4 p.m. and midnight to 4 a.m., whenever the ROVs are deployed. You can tune in any time and follow the dives live at www.Nautiluslive.org.
Jenny Woodman is a science writer and Writing Fellowship Coordinator for IEEE Earthzine; she lives Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter: @JennyWoodman