North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Life on the Edge: Exploring Deep Ocean Habitats - NC Museum of Natural Sciences Website
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2005 Questions & Answers


Several students wonder if you have seen any sharks or sting rays.
We have seen several sharks including a cat shark and a bignose shark. We have also seen small skates and a large ray. We thought the large ray was a manta ray, but it might have been a devil ray.

Hailey, a third grader from Randolph county, has several questions:

Are you having fun?
We are having fun but but working hard. Everyone works 12 hour shifts, either from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The reality is that you work until the job gets done. You don't walk away and leave it unfinished. We do laugh a great deal and enjoy working together. There are lots of new and exciting things every day.

Are you nervous about how long it takes the sub to reach the bottom of the ocean?
Mrs. Green replies, "No. I have watched the sub being launched and recovered several times, so I feel confident in the process."

What is the food like on ship? Do you get to eat seafood or regular food? The food is terrific. Every meal is prepared for us, breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are snacks available at any time (really important for the night shift!) and ice cream in a freezer. Some of our meals so far have included ravioli, prime rib, shrimp curry, Jamaican meat pies, and a seafood platter. We also have good desserts including freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, banana pudding, and chocolate mousse pie.

What do you during the day? What do you do at night?
The science team works 24 hours a day. During the day the sub goes down and all of the samples collected are processed. This means photographed, preserved, and labeled. When the sub is not in the water, we put nets and trawls into the water to sample at different depths. The night crew also follows the sonar transects to help determine good dive locations. Mrs. Green is making lots of observations during the day. She is keeping a journal about what she does and what she learns so she can use the information when she gets back to her classroom.

Tori, a student from Randolph county, asks:

Can the submersible land on the bottom?
Yes, the submersible can land on the bottom of the ocean, up to 3,000 feet deep. Most of the time we "cruise" in the sub just above the ocean floor. We only land when we want to pick up something such as a coral sample or a crab.

Hannah, a student from Randolph county, asks:

Are the coral reefs sharp?
The Lophelia coral is hard and very angular. They are bumpy where the polyps live. Although we would not call them sharp, we certainly would not want to tumble into them. That would hurt!

Stuart, an eighth grader from Orange county, asks:

What is the largest life form you think you will see?
The largest life form we might see would be a whale. So far the largest single organism we have seen so far was the ray. We don't know if it was a manta ray or a devil ray but it had about a six foot wingspan.

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