Bioluminescence Cruise: Defense in the Deep: Blog 8

Good evening, science enthusiasts! My name is Ryan Bos and I am a graduate student in Dr. Tamara Frank’s deep-sea biology lab at Nova Southeastern University. Currently, I am undertaking a trophic study emphatic of microplastics in deep-sea shrimps and fishes. My study aims to demonstrate the connectivity between deep pelagic assemblages and the epipelagic while elucidating the transfer of microplastics in marine food webs. I am writing to you from the R/V Walton Smith. As our net plunges into the light deprived depths of the mesopelagic (200m-1000m), we are reminded of how hostile the deep sea can be. As such, denizens of the deep must be equipped anatomically and physiologically with the t

Bioluminescence Cruise: Crazy Baby Eyes: Blog 7

My name is Marisa McDonald, and Marine Biology has been my passion from a young age. However, since I decided at age 7 that I would be a marine biologist (and told everyone who would listen about it) my interests have moved far away from my initial life goal of being a dolphin trainer. I graduated from the University of Miami in May with a degree in marine science and biology, and will be starting a PhD program with Dr. Megan Porter at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa next month studying stomatopods, commonly known as mantis shrimp. However, before the exciting move to Hawai’i I have returned to Miami one more time for a research cruise with my new lab to look for deep sea crustaceans on t

Bioluminescence Cruise: Deep Sea Lights: Blog 6

Hello and welcome to this instance of our Bioluminescence and Vision Research Cruise Blog. My name is Jorge Perez-Moreno and I’m a PhD Candidate in the CRUSTOMICS Lab, where my research focuses on investigating how organisms adapt to extreme environments, and the molecular basis behind these adaptations. Although the main focus of my work is the study of cave crustaceans, this week I have been fortunate to participate in an amazing project looking at deep-sea crustaceans in the Florida Straits. The main objective of this collaborative research project is to increase our understanding of bioluminescence and how it has driven the visual evolution of organisms in the deep sea. Bioluminescence a

Bioluminescence Cruise: Vision in the Deep Sea: Blog 5

My name is Tom Iwanicki, I am a Masters student in Dr. John Taylor’s lab in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. I am beginning a PhD in Dr. Megan Porter’s lab in Honolulu, Hawai’i this August. I was fortunate to be invited on this cruise out of Miami. My master’s research focused on fish vision, and this being chiefly a deep sea crustacean cruise, the learning curve on board has been a steep one! But with the help of the Frank, Bracken-Grissom, and Porter labs, I have already learned a lot in these past few days. Vision is central to the human experience. We use it for foraging, predator avoidance, sexual reproduction, and it is important in the development of our culture. The fundamental

Bioluminescence Cruise - Blog 4

Day 2 – Doing Science! We end Day 1 setting sail into the night, traveling to our first of several sites where we plan to collect samples. We wave farewell to the Miami skyline, and after a few hours of card games and chess, we retire to our bunks hoping to get a few hours of sleep before we begin our first trawl. There’s a very noticeable transition between the calm tranquil waters of the bay and the tumultuous peaks and troughs of the open ocean. The night is long and our cabins are filled with claps of thunder as we press on through a typical Caribbean summer storm. It wasn’t the most comfortable of nights, but eventually I find myself dozing off, waking only with sunlight that shines thr

Bioluminescence Cruise: Vertical Migration: Blog 3

Hello my name is Richard Hartland, I have spent many years traveling around this amazing planet we all call home. I fell in love with nature as a small boy in Scotland and I decided to spend the rest of my life trying to learn all I could to hopefully help us understand our place in this world and what makes it tick. I am currently a graduate student in Dr. Tammy Frank's deep-sea biology lab at Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale. Here I am studying the assemblage of Sergestid shrimps in the Gulf of Mexico so that we can better know them. I want to tell you about a pretty simple concept to understand called vertical migration. When an animal, crustacean, fish or other, moves either

Bioluminescence Cruise: Science at Sea!: Blog 2

The first Bioluminescence cruise! So exciting! My name is Laura Timm and this is my fourth research cruise as Dr. Bracken-Grissom's PhD student. In my research, I focus on population genetics of marine crustaceans in the Gulf of Mexico. I use this information to draw conclusions about the health and resilience of species and communities in the Gulf. I am on this cruise to connect my sampling dots between the Gulf and the Atlantic. Since arriving at the dock yesterday afternoon, we have spent a great deal of time getting our equipment set up. The tucker trawl, which is the net we use to catch all our shrimp, was set up this morning. After breakfast we went out onto the back deck and attached

Bioluminescence Cruise - Blog 1

My name is Charles Golightly. For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by the natural world. As I grew, I found myself being called more and more to the ocean; the mystery of its depths; the intrigue of exploring the unknown. That calling has led me to pursue studies in Marine Biology. My dream is to one day conduct my own scientific research on, and to further explore the deep ocean. Currently, I’m an undergraduate student at Florida International University, and a lowly intern in probably (most likely) the greatest scientific lab on the planet. Under Dr. Heather Bracken-Grissom, and my mentor, Jorge Luis Perez-Moreno, I work with deep-ocean crustaceans, unlocking the mysteries of

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