Halloween Sponge and UBC Students

Halloween day, and into the dark forbidding ocean depths the MLSS drop camera descended.  It was searching for the sponge bioherms at Kelvin Grove triple seamount.

Katie changing out the HD cameras on the drop cam, note the LED lights powered up
Katie changing out the HD cameras on the drop cam, note the LED lights powered up

Oceanographic biologist Lena Clayton and MLSS director Glen Dennison hosted the UBC environmental sciences (ENVR 400) student team on an expedition to study glass sponge.

Lena Clayton taking team ENVR 400 to see sponge bioherms
Lena Clayton taking team ENVR 400 to see sponge bioherms

The students spent over 5 hours with the cameras as deep as 400 feet, observing creatures in and around the glass sponge bioherms.

Stephenie winding in the 100 foot reel of transmission line, Krista and Lena direct operations from the bridge
Krista and Lena direct operations from the bridge, Stephenie winding in the 100 foot reel of transmission line

All video was recorded for use in project studies regarding glass sponge habitat. The students discovered ghost prawn traps, schools of rockfish, prawns, and various forms of life in and around the sponge.

Glass sponge 300 feet below the boat keel
Glass sponge 300 feet below the boat keel

They were able to see the stark differences inside the sponge beds as opposed to the abyssal plains around the seamount.   Returning home with a mountain of video data, they have a full project for their ENVR 400 class.

October 31, 2015

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