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iLabs: A Childhood Dream Beneath the Waves

October 2, 2012

If I have one professional regret, it is that I never realized my childhood wish to become a Marine Biologist. Every summer on our trips to Cape C0d, Massachusetts, instead of sitting on the beach, I spent the entire day, mostly underwater. A pair of flippers and a face mask – official US Navy surplus –  no less, were my companions, along with the tumbling bits of kelp, Irish Moss, rocks, and stray shells.  For me there was no choice between the raucous, crowded splashing of tourists above the waves, or the suddenly quiet, amazing world beneath.

When I read of Dr. Edie Widder saying how she could be happy to spend all her time in the dark reaches of the ocean studying bioluminscent creatures, I understood.  And life has taken me on many adventures, but beneath the waves, is one I did not get.

However, there is another way. If you are like me and LOVE that world below, but are not free to indulge, I STRONGLY urge you to check out this summer’s museum adventure blog: Deepwater Canyons.

From their, “About the Mission” page:

This is the second cruise of a four year project to study the biology, geology and oceanography of a series of canyons off the middle Atlantic coast of the US. Of particular interest are areas of hard substrate that could support deep water coral ecosystems or other unusual habitats, such as methane seeps. Another major component of this study is marine archaeology, primarily searching for historically significant shipwrecks (Figure 1).

This project represents a collaborative effort among the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Continental Shelf Associates (the BOEM contractor) and their academic partners, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (provider of ship time and equipment), and the US Geological Survey (in support of BOEM’s energy-development responsibilities). This cruise is part of the field activity for the project. The study concept, oversight, and funding were provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior, BOEM, Environmental Studies Program.

Among the many amazing people from all over the world  involved in this endeavor are some of our own Museum stars:

  • Elizabeth Denton Baird, Director of Education
  • Megan Chesser, Director of Summer Camps
  • Eric Hanneman, PhD, Coordinator of Fish and Invertebrates

Between the great photographs, and the intriguing posts – One Fish, Two Fish, Dead Fish, New Fish…..The Kraken II Returns From the Deep…The Dog(fish) Days of Diving…and Brittle Brittle Little Star, How I Wonder Do You Travel Far….   the blog is chock full of science, fun, and that magic, that can only be f0und, under the waves.  Please check it out.

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