North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Life on the Edge: Exploring Deep Ocean Habitats - NC Museum of Natural Sciences Website
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08/23/03

Kimberly, a high school senior from Wake County, North Carolina, asked Liz Baird: What is your favorite piece of equipment, and what does it do? Which piece of equipment gives you the most accurate data?

My favorite piece of equipment has to be the submersible. To be able to view the undersea world without having to worry about swimming and whether you have oxygen left is such a treat. It means that one can concentrate on making good observations rather than worrying about swimming.

My next favorite is the SeaBird. My first year out here I was introduced to the "SeaBird expert" and at first thought how great it was to be able to identify birds that fly over the ocean. I was surprised when it turned out that the SeaBird is a torpedo-shaped measuring device that we attach to all the deepwater and midwater trawls. While it is in the water it records water pressure and temperature in a little computer. It also has a rotating propeller that helps us determine the speed of the water flowing through the net. When the trawl comes in we attach the SeaBird to a laptop and it instantaneously produces a graph showing change in pressure and temperature over time and depth. It is so much faster than graphing it by hand! The SeaBird gives us very accurate data.