Do you ever wonder about exploring the ocean? About how much of it has been explored? The ways we can explore it?
The ocean has been estimated to only have been 5% explored, yet it makes up 71% of our planet. What?!
Who has heard of NASA? Ya, I bet you have! But have you heard of NOAA? The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration? Many less people have, yet it monitors the ocean and atmosphere on our own planet rather than the planets around us. Isn't it crazy more people hear about planets outside of our own?!
I had the amazing opportunity to explore our ocean this summer on a research vessel known as the E/V Nautilus. On this boat, I worked as an ocean science intern working with data logging and sampling. I learned so much about how we research our deep-sea and how fascinating it is!
On the Nautilus, scientists use Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV's) in order to see the ocean floor without having to have people risk going in submersibles. There are cameras, samplers, and lots of other cool types of technology on these vehicles that allow us to explore the ocean and bring back up samples to better understand these ecosystems.
For my expedition, we studied methane seeps and the environment around them. Most people only think of coral reefs or kelp forests when they think of important ecosystems in the ocean, yet there are so many other ecosystems that we rarely hear of or see! These methane seeps as well as hydrothermal vents provide life for animals to survive at crazy depths without sunlight.
One really cool aspect of the Nautilus is that there are live broadcasts 24/7 to the world to show everyone what is being researched at all times. This allows scientists to see what they're researching and better understand it, but also allows the public to get a sneak peak on all of this too! You can view video footage of the dives, photos/videos from past dives, and lots of information on ocean exploration on nautiluslive.org .
You may think that only marine biologists are important to ocean exploration, but that is simply not true!! There are many other types of scientists as well as engineers, technicians, communicators, teachers, navigators, and more that play a huge role in ocean exploration. Even if you don't want to be a marine biologist or scientist there are still many opportunities for you to get involved in studying the sea in one way or another!
I highly encourage all of you MERMAIDS and MERMEN to start thinking of ocean exploration if you haven't already. The ocean is our biggest resource... we couldn't survive without it! So, why not understand it better? Share the incredible video footage on Nautilus Live with friends and family, it's so fun to see the organisms of the deep!