From: Marcus Vievering
Subject: The New Squid
- When do you think you will name the new squid? How will you decide on its name?
- 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
From: Josh (age 6)
Subject: 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.
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)
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?
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
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!
subject: naming of species
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?
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
Hope that this answers your question, and thanks for following our
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
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
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
I will see you all soon.
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
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!
It's been rather rough out here, but I've felt great! I have gotten my
-- Bill Ussler
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?
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.
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.
subject: Oxygen minimum zone
The oxygen minimum layer has perplexed me for some time
Is this a subject that comes up on the cruise? Is any
research being conducted on this physical anomalie?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Q: Anything else you want to tell
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
Are you guys okay out there?
From: Pen Ross
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
Have you discovered any brand new species on your trip yet?
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
information and then publish a paper. We have seen some
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
the frilly tail). We are also seeing some fish that nobody
has ever seen
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
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.
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.
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
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."
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
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.
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.
Subject: midwater animals
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
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
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).