North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Life on the Edge: Exploring Deep Ocean Habitats - NC Museum of Natural Sciences Website
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Q: After several years of research at sea, what do you feel is the most significant scientific finding or discovery to date and what do you find most meaningful personally?

lionfish caught in 2003It is difficult to name the most significant finding or discovery from our years out here. We have documented several species new to the area. We have discovered new deep coral locations. We caught the first lionfish ever collected by a research submersible during our 2003 cruise. This year I think we have all been impressed by the incredible diversity of the locations we visited. Although the sites had similar depths, salinities, and temperatures, we found remarkable differences in the types and numbers of corals, invertebrates, and fishes.

view from sub at the bottom of the oceanPersonally, I am struck by two strong messages. One is our understanding of the natural history of the sea is far from complete. Our technology and other tools are helping create a clearer picture of the life below the waves, but there is still an overwhelming amount we do not understand.

2004 research teamThe other message is the importance of collaboration. The data and material we collected will be used initially by six different researchers. It takes cooperation between the science team, the ship's crew, and the sub's crew for us to maximize our time at sea. With these two messages in mind, this mission truly has been an overwhelming success.

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