Hawaii Cruise
March 13, 2001 to June 2, 2001
Monterey to Hawaii and back
Ask a scientist...

From: Marcus Vievering
The New Squid

When do you think you will name the new squid? How will you decide on its name?
-Marcus Vievering
Hi Marcus
It will likely be some time before we name the squid as we really need to have a specimen in hand to ensure that we have the correct identification.

From: Josh (age 6)
The New Squid

How do you know it was a squid?
How many feet long was the squid?
What time of day did you spot it?
Thank you very much.
-Josh (age 6)
Hi Josh
The morphology (what it looks like) of the animal is very squid like, although much larger than other squids. The arms were a little different, but it was pretty easy to identify it to that level (unlike some of the other animals we observed on this cruise). The animal was about 5-7 meters long (15-20 feet). I'm not sure what time of day it was observed, but at that depth (over 3000 meters), it's dark all the time.

From: Dick Young (Prof. of Oceanography, Univ. Hawaii)
Subject:  Squid on May 16

Aloha, You have videos of a squid that I believe is Magnapinna pacifica, a member of a family that Mike Vecchione and I recently described. Compare with this www page on unknown squids. Thanks for your help. Best wishes, Dick Young (Prof. of Oceanography, Univ. Hawaii)


From: Tom Jensen
subject:  Anomaly with survey


May 15 notes refer to a water column anomaly which interfered with 3.5 khz seismic system and with the swath bathymetry/sidescan  data collection. 1) Did your dive find an explanation for the anomaly? 2) does "swath" above refer to the Western Flyer or a procedure, like painting a swath? 

Thanks, and say Hi to Nancy Anne (Stout)

Tom Jensen

The water column anomaly is a water velocity problem which essentially places the data at the wrong depth. The swath I referred to is multibeam bathymetric data collection which collects data over a wide strip of the seafloor. Such systems are referred to as swath bathymetric systems as opposed to ones that simply look down and give you the depth under the vessel. Dave

From: Mary Fran
subject:  To Cathy Sewell

Great to see a glimpse of your research vessel and what it's doing in Hawaii. Sounds like too much tossing around in huge waves for me! Hope you're enjoying it and balmy Hawaii. Describe your computer work on board. How much do you get to see what's being investigated?

Mary Fran

My computer work aboard the Western Flyer focuses in two main areas:
assisting the Flyer's crew and the scientists with their computer equipment, and working with shore IS (Information Services) on rectifying a few computer infrastructure issues. My main tasks out here are as a (very junior) member of the science team. I spend much of my days in the video annotation chair during the ROV dives. It would be difficult to be out here and and not see what's being investigated!

- Cathy

Subject:  Volcanic rocks

TO Brian Cousens: You mentioned that you were hoping to find some interesting black rocks. Can you tell me how you will be able locate them, and be able to retrieve them for further study?

Yes, we have collected many excellent black rocks! They are all lava flows that were erupted while the volcanoes around Hawaii were underwater. One characteristic of these submarine lavas is that the outer edge of the lava cools very quickly to form a volcanic glass. Volcanic glass looks exactly like glass that a drink tumbler or Coke
bottle is made of, except that it is jet black. Although the edge of the lava cools very quickly, the interior of the lava flow cools more slowly and allows minerals to crystallize.
We collect samples of the lavas with the manipulator arm on the ROV. The pilot and the scientist can see what the sea floor looks like using the video cameras mounted on the ROV, and then choose what piece of rock they would like to sample. Sounds easy, but sometimes finding a good fragment of rock to collect is hard - the manipulator arm is not strong enough to break a rock, so we look for fragments of rock that are cracked or that have already fallen off of the lava flow. 
Hope that this answers your question!

From: Alice
subject:  naming of species

Hi everyone, 

Are the new species of marine life, such as the new sunfish going to be catalogued, studied and given a new scientific name? I especially like the fleshy pink starfish. Does that have a name yet?

Thanks, Alice

P.S. A hearty hello to Dr. Brian Cousens from the crew back at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. Cheers, and keep up the fascinating finds!

Hi Alice! Ed Seidel from the Monterey Bay Aquarium is the biology expert on this cruise. The animals that he has collected are to be placed on display at the aquarium as part of a "Mysteries of the Deep" display. He tells me that most of the animals that he has collected are variants on animals found elsewhere in the Pacific, but of course these particular ones are local to Hawaii. If any are truly new species, that is up to a select few biologists specializing in species classification to decide.

Hope that this answers your question, and thanks for following our cruise!

Brian Cousens

Subject: Species collected and quantity?

Question for Ed Seidel - when a new species is discovered, how many of the creatures are collected?

We try not to collect too many. In some cases, a single specimen is sufficient if we have enough video of different specimens. We need to be able to describe the species and include any information we have about individual variation within the species. We need at least one specimen to deposit in a museum as a voucher specimen.

From: Mrs. Fletcher's K-1 class and Mrs. Apis' 4th grade class at Spreckels School in Spreckels, CA
Subject: Hawaii Cruise

Dave - could you tell us about your trip?

Greetings from the Western Flyer to Mrs. Fletcher's K-1 class and Mrs. Apis' 4th grade class at Spreckels School in Spreckels, CA.

We've had an exciting day. We began early with our deepest ROV dive to date off the north side of Molokai. We took Tiburon down to depths of 3440 m in a submarine canyon, and then began to work our way up towards the coast. We found many outcrops of sediment made up of volcanic rocks, but not much life. While we worked, the wind kept getting stronger and stronger, until it was blowing more than 40 miles per hour. Winds that fast are too strong for the ship to work safely with the ROV, so we ended the ROV dive early. While the ROV pilots were bringing the vehicle up, the cable got twisted. This made recovery (bringing the vehicle back on the ship) much harder. We were all a bit nervous because sometimes a twisted cable will stop sending power and data down to the ROV. If we lost control of the ROV in bad weather, there was a good chance that it might get damaged or even lost. However, the ROV pilots carefully brought the vehicle back without incident. Inspection revealed that the cable was damaged just above the vehicle, so they have cut off the bottom 40 meters of cable and then reattached the ROV to the fresh cable end. We will be able to dive again in the morning.

Since I wrote to you at the beginning of the cruise, we've seen many strange creatures and learned a lot about how the volcanoes that make up the Hawaiian Islands grew. There should be a number of pictures on the web site from our dives. I got to film a strange octopus that lives in deep holes, a sea cucumber that swims when its disturbed, a jellyfish that lives upside down on the seafloor, and a hermit crab that keeps a sea anenome on its shell to avoid being eaten. Other dives found lava flows from recent volcanic eruptions, including pillow lavas, lava tubes, and old lava lakes.

I will see you all soon.

Dave Caress

From: Sonny
Subject: storms

Are the storms over in Hawaii?

The "storms" in Hawaii are actually quite strong trade winds which are a common feature in this part of the tropics. They blow much of the time out of the northeast, but when they attain speeds of above 30 knots oceanographic work becomes increasingly difficult. Mercifully we have had several days of mild trades and worked on a a hard schedule day and night to get in seven wonderfully productive dives with the ROV which generally went down to depths of about 1000 to 1500 meters, and would remain on the bottom for 8 or so hours. The ROV is a "Remotely Operated Vehicle" with nobody riding in it, but which sends back video of the bottom and has a manipulating claw which is very nimble in picking up specimens. At the bottom of the ROV is a drawer with sample bins than can be opened for use and closed between sample stations so the samples don't fall out. On one dive we collected 52 samples of rock. In addition many samples of water were collected at different depths and places. Small cores about the size of a paper-towel tube were pushed into muddy bottoms for collection of sediments, and a special bag like a modified butterfly net was scraped over the bottom to collect gravel, or to take some biological specimens. The ROV is about 8 feet on a side. It is launched not over the side of the ship, but down into a "moon pool" which is a hole in the middle of the ship between the two main hulls. The moon pool is completely covered by a roof so it is protected from the weather which makes the launch and recovery easier and safer especially in the middle of the night in rough seas. But when the weather is really rough, the seas even splash up out of the moon pool. 

We had to come into Honolulu today for repairs of the gyro compass. All is fixed now and we are heading out Thursday evening. At sunset we saw a feeble green flash. We are heading to the north side of Molokai and plan to make a dive there at 6 tomorrow morning. However, the trade winds are getting stronger again and we don't know if the period of good weather will have left us by tomorrow morning. Hope all is well. 


Subject: red jelly fish

What is the minimum temperature that this animal can tolerate?

Hi again. If you are talking about the red siphonophore that we observed in March during the first leg, the minimum temperature that we usually see is around 4-6 C.

Subject: marine biologist

Are you a marine biologist? If you are what type of math/sciences did you take in high school. I want to be a marine biologist and in 2 years I'm going to be in high school I want to know what to take.

Hi, I'm pleased that you are interested in marine biology. There are a number of great websites that go through different potential career options (within the marine biology field) and some of the coursework that you would find useful. The best one that I've read is from Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station (http://hopkins.stanford.edu/careers.htm). Good luck with your career path and in 6 years come back and apply for the MBARI internship program

From: Cathy Cash
Subject: Hello to Charlie and Bill!

I have no questions to ask, just thanks to offer. Thank you guys for letting me know of the website. It's been so great to see and read about what you are doing out there. Thanks to all who have written the logs and provided the photos. They are very interesting! Hope you are accomplishing all you set out to do! I check your progress daily. Happy Easter and my best to you!

Cathy Cash

Dear Cathy,

It's been rather rough out here, but I've felt great! I have gotten my sealegs.

-- Bill Ussler

From: Buggy
subject: Education

I am studying to be a Marine Biologist at UC Santa Barbara and I was wondering how you all got to take such an interesting research trip? What kind of degrees do you have? And do you need any more help?

Dear Buggy,
I got my undergraduate degree at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, in Biology (with an emphasis on Marine Science classes). Then I got my Masters degree at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in Marine Invertebrate Zoology with Dr. J. Nybakken. The Monterey Bay area is very rich with many marine scientists so it was the natural choice for me.
You are right, this is a very interesting research trip and I feel very lucky for this opportunity. I think the way to find an opportunity like this is just to make an effort to meet the scientists or research techs who do work that you think is interesting and let them know you are willing to help out in any way necessary. You may have to volunteer for a cruise or two, then they will be looking for YOU when they need an extra hand (as is often the case). Internships are one of the best ways to get your foot in the door at a research institute.
Good luck!
--Kyra Schlining

Subject: Gorda Ridge Eruption

Did you know the Gorda Ridge was erupting near the sites of your dives last summer, approximately where the President Jackson Seamounts intersect the ridge? The general location is at 42.17 N, 127.083W (or 42 10'N; 127 5'W). This location is on the segment just below the North Gorda segment, which was the site of the February 1996 eruption. The location is analogous to that event, being located near the summit of the "narrowgate" on the south side.

I got a message about the event at Gorda Ridge today-so I guess the answer is yes I know about it. NOAA is mounting a rapid response and there will be another cruise to the area in two weeks that will be able to resurvey where we have Simrad data. I have made our data available to them for comparison. We are about to dive, so must run. 

 - Dave Clague

You can see more information about the Gorda Ridge cruise at /expeditions/GordaRidge/index.htm and information and logbooks of other MBARI expeditions at /expeditions/index.htm

- George Matsumoto

From: Curt Bowman
Subject: Dive depth

Dave: Have been following the Western Flyer - what a blast! At what depth have your dives off Diamond Head and Koko Head been? It will be interesting to be able to date these events. Curt Bowman

The dive off of Diamond Head was about 400 meters deep and the dive off of Koko Head was around 500 meters deep. Besides the information posted on the cruise logbook, you can also find some additional information (including dive depths of past and future locations) at /cruises/flyer.asp . Thank you for your enthusiasm and interest.

From: Lonn
subject: Oxygen minimum zone

The oxygen minimum layer has perplexed me for some time now.

Is this a subject that comes up on the cruise? Is any research being conducted on this physical anomalie?

Best wishes

Hi Lonn
Yes, the oxygen minimum layer is present somewhere between 500 meters and 1000 meters on all of our dives. We do keep track of the oxygen levels and there are animals that are only found in this zone (like Vampyroteuthis - see image on March 28th).

Subject: specimen collection

You have mentioned various samples (jellies and such) that you have collected. Will you keep these animals with you for the duration of the Flyer's trip (until June) and if so, is keeping them alive that long at sea a challenge?

Some of the specimens that were collected are still alive, but we will be preserving them before the end of this leg. Some of the animals collected on other legs of the expedition will be brought back alive to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We do have a chilled seawater system on board (as the water down at 1,000 meters is around 6°C) and a cold room where we can keep animals and tanks without too much condensation on the tanks.

Subject: red siphonophore

Loved the picture! May I ask at what depth and time of the day... or night was this photographed? Happy Trails to You!!!!

The depth was around 650 meters and the time of day was around 1447 WFT which would be around 1547 PST.

From: Seventh grade students from Stevenson Middle School
Subject: Several questions

Dear Scientists,
We are a group of seventh grade students from Stevenson Middle School
who are learning about your cruise and have been following your
progress.  We are interested in several things:

Q:  Tienes un buen viaje?
Are you having a good time?
A:  Yes, we are having a good time because the weather has been cooperative (for most of the time) and we are collected a lot of excellent data that will help us understand more about the Pacific Ocean.

Q:  Cual es tu color favorito?
What is your favorite color?
A: My favorite color is blue - and I really like the blue ocean that we are in now. The only drawback to seeing so much blue, rather the green color that we have in Monterey, is that the blue indicates less productivity in the water.

Q: hola, como estas? me pregunta es, cual es la temperatura minima y maxima?
Hello, how are you? My question is, what are the minimum and maximum temperatures?
A:  This really varies. Surface temperatures were around 11 C in Monterey and are now up to 22 C. The water at 1000 meters is around 4-6 C and doesn't change anywhere in the ocean.

Q: Haces ir a nadando con las delfin?
Have you gone swimming with dolphins?
A: Nope, not this trip. In fact, I haven't even seen any dolphins yet. Most of our research diving on SCUBA is done with a special diving setup called a bluewater trapeze. This means that all of the divers are tethered on 10 meter lines.

Q: ?Es la agua caliente o frio?
Is the water warm or cold?
A: Well, it started out cold in Monterey but it is pretty warm right now!

Q: Buenos dias. Nos llamamos Jacobo y Nico, y estamos en la clase de español.
Mi maestra es Señora Matsumoto. ¿Cual es su animal favorito que usted?
What is your favorite animal?
A: My favorite animals are the comb jellies or ctenophores. We haven't seen too many on this trip, but we have collected a few species that we have not found in Monterey Bay.

Q: Que es el "Mooring Watch circle"?
What is the "mooring watch circle"?
A: An interesting question! My understanding is that around moorings (which are anchored to the sea floor), there is a 'watch circle' that ships and other vehicles (like ROVs) will avoid. This is because the moorings can swing on their anchor, the 'watch circle' diameter thus depends on the mooring depth. We don't have any moorings out here to worry about.

Q: Es la comida bien?
Is the food good?
A: The food is delicious. It is pretty nice to have three meals a day cooked for you.; We are trying to help out Doug Alexander (our steward) by doing the dishes for him in the evening.

Q: Esta divertido?
Is it fun?
A: Research cruises can be fun, but we miss our families and friends. It is easier now since we have electronic mail. This is a pretty short cruise (16 days), there are some other MBARI scientists leaving this week for a 40 day cruise!

Q: Comen el pez ustedes buscar?
Are you eating the fish that you are looking for?
A: No, we are not just looking for fish. We are studying the physical and biological characteristics of the water column down to 1000 meters across the Pacific Ocean. We do see some fish, but they are usually much faster than the ROV.

Q: What are the coolest animals you have seen so far?
A: Everybody has their own favorite, another interesting one is the beautiful snail Cavolinia (you can see a photo of this from the March 21st logbook.

Q: What's it like being on a ship for such a long time?
A: Luckily, this ship is pretty nice. The working conditions are excellent and the crew are really friendly and easy to get along with. This makes being on the ship for extended periods much easier.

Q: What is the weather like?
A: It varies from day to day. We have just had a couple of very rough days and are hoping for calmer weather ahead.

Q: Anything else you want to tell us? 
A: Keep studying your Spanish. It is a very valuable skill to be able to converse (written and oral) in more than one language. I am glad that you are enjoying the logbooks, come back and see what develops over the next two months!


Email: troberts@mlml.calstate.edu
Subject: storm

Are you guys okay out there?

From: Pen Ross
Subject: none

Just wanted to thank you all for the effort you're putting into the site. I really enjoy reading the log, Wish I was there! Pen Ross

From: Minda
Subject: Question

Have you discovered any brand new species on your trip yet?

Hi Minda,
yes, we have found something brand new but you'll have to wait a little
while to find out about it as we would like to gather some more
information and then publish a paper. We have seen some other very
unusual things as well, like the squid on March 18th turns out to be a
very unusual species (only a few specimens ever captured and none with
the frilly tail). We are also seeing some fish that nobody has ever seen
alive before.

Subject: Spanish

How many Spanish speaking people are on board and what are their jobs?

Francisco Chavez - Scientist
Rob Sherlock - Research Technician
If you are studying Spanish now, stay with it! Being able to speak
other languages is a very important and marketable skill. We need more
people who can speak Spanish especially as we are currently planning on
heading down into the Sea of Cortez area in 2002.

From: Gail
Subject: ROV dives

Hi George! The picture of the thecosome pteropod is fabulous. Can you tell me how the diversity of life on the ROV dives at 900 and 2000 meters compares to the same depth dives here in Monterey Bay? Thanks so much for your log entries. Gayle

Hi Gayle, I'm glad that you liked the photo of the pteropod. We collected another one yesterday, they are even more beautiful and elaborate in situ as the cephalic tentacles come much further out and make this snail look like a jelly (perhaps a jelly mimic?). 

We have only had one dive to 2,000 meters thus far, but in terms of general diversity, Monterey Bay is much richer. This is what we had expected. We are learning quite a bit with our dive transects. We are seeing more and different types of fish as well as lots of different types of jellies. For example, the squid that I called Chiroteuthis on March 18th is actually something different. Here is a message from Brad Siebel, a MBARI postdoc and a cephalopod expert: 

"The second squid on the Hawaii expedition site with a long frilly tail may be Planktiteuthis (formerly Valbyteuthis). There have only been about a dozen collected ... ever. They are related to chiroteuthids. It may also be Chiroteuthis ... I'd have to see it up close to know ... but it had a Planktiteuthis look about him. Nobody's ever seen the tail on them. I've collected several heavily pigmented adults at depths below 1200 meters."

Cheers, George

From: Carmyn
Subject: enjoying the logs

Hi, George - 
No question - just wanted to say thanks for all the effort you're putting into the logs and photos.  I'm really enjoying following the cruise.  Hi to Rob, Kevin and Steve!

Hi Carmyn,
I'm glad that you're enjoying the logbook, it's a lot of fun to put together. The easy part is the part that I do where I gather the images and the text and then just send it back to MBARI. The hard part is posting the information onto the web pages which is being done by folks back at MBARI.

From: Fran
Subject: ctenophore biology

Hi. I've heard that ctenophores are voracious predators on krill. Can someone confirm this?

Ctenophores definitely do eat krill. I've watched Mertensia ovum eat several krill at a time down in the Antarctic. There is also a new species of Bolinopsis down in Antarctica that I've seen eating krill. In the Monterey area I have seen Hormiphora eat krill once in the laboratory but not in the field.


From:   Gail
Subject: midwater animals

Hi George,
Your Logbooks are great to read.  I have 2 questions:  1.  One of your logs
said that you saw a fish near a salp, probably for protection.  What kind of
protection does a salp offer a fish?  2.  With so little iron in the water,
and scarce phytoplankton, how can there be so many filter feeding gelatinous
midwater animals?  Sounds like it is just like here in the green water. How
does the density of animals compare?
Thanks so much for taking questions. Hope you have a great time.

Hi Gayle,
I'm glad that you are enjoying the logbooks. The answer to your first question is that for a little larval fish, any protection is better than none. Hanging out near a salp gives the fish a substrate to hug. They may seem gelatinous and transparent, but they do provide some protection from visual predators as they do have definite shapes and nontransparent guts. Some fish like the medusa fish will spend their entire lives near jellies.

And as for why there are so many filter-feeding organisms, it is a very efficient mode of feeding especially when food is scarce. You just have to filter more water. The density of salps the other day was amazing, they were all over the place in numbers equal to what I've seen in Monterey Bay. We haven't seen any salps all day today, lots of radiolarians in the surface waters and almost nothing in the water column until about 500 meters when we started to see some predators (fish, squid, siphonophores).

—George Matsumoto


Click on the links to the left to find out more about this exciting cruise!