Tony Ingram, a NCSU student,
Are there any signs that you can see indicating that you are
past the shelf, just from looking out on the side of the boat?
We cannot really tell that we are past the shelf just by looking
out the side of the
ship. We can tell when we get into the edge of the gulf stream
however because the water
becomes an incredible deep blue. When we sample over the side
of the ship we also find
that the water is much warmer than it is right along the coast.
Adam, a NCSU student, asked:
How do deep sea marine
animals survive without sunlight and warmth of the
sun? Also, what do they eat?
The marine animals of the deep sea have many adaptations to living
in total darkness.
Some animals found along faults survive using chemosynthesis and
thriving in the hot
water generated by geothermal energy. However most of the animals
we find off the NC
coast eat the "marine snow" or small dead organisms
that sink to the bottom. Some animals
also move up and down in the water column depending upon the time
of day. Part of our
research is looking at energy flow in these deep water habitats.
Nick J., a NCSU Freshman,
What made you
become so interested in marine sciences?
Educator Liz Baird responds:
I have always loved being near, in and on the sea. I
recently found childhood pictures which show me examining tide
pools in Maine and looking at whale vertebrae on the North Carolina
coast. I continue to marvel at the mysteries of the ocean and
hope that in upcoming years we will gain a better understanding
of the food webs in the ocean. I also am excited about observing
the behaviors of some of the unique species of the deep. Very
little is known about these animals.
James H., a NCSU student,
What is the
biggest coral reef that you've encountered while
The Northern and Southern Lophelia Banks are quite large—
some appear to be more than 10 feet tall. There are larger coral
reefs in other parts of the world.
Nicholas, a NCSU Freshman,
What kind of
research is planned for the future and how will it
help the coast and the ocean?
Future research will certainly continue to focus on the unique
habitats of the deep ocean
and how we can protect them. Additional work needs to be done
on invasive species, such
as the lionfish, and how we can prevent accidental introductions
and control the impact
that these non-natives have on our environment.
Brandon, a first grader
from Wake county, North
What kind of technology do you have on the ship, as far as
computers, special radars or submarines? Also, have you ever found
anything valuable, like artifacts or treasures?
I am assuming that you want to know about the immersion suits
which we would wear if there were an emergency on board. There
are more than enough immersion suits for every person, plus about
twice as many life jackets as people. Additionally we have life
rafts to accommodate double the number of people on board.
Stephen, a 5th grader
from Wake county, North Carolina, asked:
What kind of starfishes have you caught?
We have found several types of starfishes including a maroon
pillow star with very short
arms, orange brittle stars with long fragile arms and a speckled
starfish with thick
arms. Some of these are pictured in the last log on the NOAA Ocean