Hidden Ocean 2016: Chukchi Borderlands
Mission Logs

Follow along as participants in the cruise provide updates and reflections on their experiences, the science, the technology, and other elements of the expedition.

Check out logs from the Hidden Ocean Arctic 2005 expedition.

 

August 26: Summary

August 26: Summary

The Hidden Ocean 2016 cruise followed the legacy of our prior expeditions by assessing the biodiversity within the Arctic’s three major realms - the sea ice, the water column, and the sea floor.

August 10: Final Wrap-Up

August 10: Final Wrap-Up

Together we have traveled over 4,000 nautical miles, and it will seem strange not to see the same faces every day, even if they were tired ones. There are talented scientists, a small army of enthusiastic students, and a skilled ROV team here, but we have been successful largely because we worked as a team.

August 9: HEALY – Not Your Grandfather’s Icebreaker!

August 9: HEALY – Not Your Grandfather’s Icebreaker!

When USCGC HEALY sails throughout the Arctic, we simultaneously fulfill many purposes. First and foremost, we are an ice breaker, providing presence and access for a myriad of objectives, the primary and most visible of which is scientific research.

August 8: Learning From the Sea

August 8: Learning From the Sea

As a PolarTREC fellow/NOAA Teacher at Sea, I have been privileged to participate in The Hidden Ocean 2016: Chukchi Borderlands expedition. In these capacities I have gotten to explore the many different types of research being conducted during this expedition.

August 7: Dr. Lindsay and Mr. Pumpkin

August 7: Dr. Lindsay and Mr. Pumpkin

During this expedition, the science party has collected multiple ctenophores that may represent new species. Of course new is a bit of a misnomer – these graceful animals were around long before human existence. The correct taxonomic term is ‘undescribed’.

August 6: Imaging the Small

August 6: Imaging the Small

Image-based profiling instruments take photographs of parcels of water as they are lowered through the water column. These images contain lots of different things such as zooplankton, phytoplankton, and non-living particles; things that all play a role in the ocean’s carbon cycle.

August 4: Ice! Camera! Action!

August 4: Ice! Camera! Action!

Part of the mission of The Hidden Ocean 2016: Chukchi Borderlands mission is to share scientific discoveries with the public through outreach. Two media teams were invited on this expedition to fulfill that mission and bring the Arctic to audiences around the world.

August 2: An International Team Researching Jellyfish

August 2: An International Team Researching Jellyfish

Our team is composed of people from different parts of the world: Japan, Australia, Canada, Taiwan, USA, and Mexico. We are researching life in the depths of the Arctic Ocean with the help of the ROV and Hydrobios multinet.

July 31: The Other World Around You

July 31: The Other World Around You

Within the oceans, microbes dominate when it comes to total biomass and abundance of individuals. The generation times of these microbes are short, allowing them to rapidly adapt to environmental changes – henceforth their importance to the study of changing ocean conditions.

July 30: Studying the Deep

July 30: Studying the Deep

Just about two centuries ago, some scientists believed that life could not exist below 55 m depth. We now know that life can not only survive, but thrive in the deep sea, even at the bottom.

July 29: Mud, Mud, and More Mud!!

July 29: Mud, Mud, and More Mud!!

Little is known about the infauna of the Chukchi Borderlands, so on this expedition we are taking sediment samples to explore the infaunal community structure.

July 28: Making a Home at Sea

July 28: Making a Home at Sea

The 24-hour sunlight of the Arctic summer means that work can happen at any time. However, beautiful views like this, which was taken during ROV operations at midnight, remind us that life on the USCGC Healy is a special experience.

July 27: A Ship of Opportunity

July 27: A Ship of Opportunity

The Healy’s mission is mainly science-based, although it does maintain a readiness posture in the event it is needed for an emergency or search and rescue operation.

July 26: Trawling in the Arctic

July 26: Trawling in the Arctic

Trawling in the Arctic is definitely a different ballgame than trawling elsewhere in the world. You need to have a pretty wide open area to put the net down, otherwise ice can get caught on the winch wire and cause all sorts of problems.

July 25: Taking the 'Net North

July 25: Taking the 'Net North

We have an Internet connection on a ship in the Arctic Ocean! How cool is that? Well, it isn’t broadband. That it works at all is due to a bunch of nifty technology that does its job quietly and effectively most of the time.

July 24: One Instrument for All

July 24: One Instrument for All

A CTD is an essential tool used in all disciplines of oceanography. CTD stands for Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth. By measuring the conductivity of seawater, the salinity can be derived from the temperature and pressure of the same water.

July 23: Arctic Adaptations of Zooplankton

July 23: Arctic Adaptations of Zooplankton

Zooplankton in the Arctic must deal with harsh winter conditions, including freezing temperatures, limited food availability, and the Polar Night. The Polar Night refers to the time of year when the Arctic experiences 24 hours of darkness each day.

July 22: Mapping the Arctic Seafloor

July 22: Mapping the Arctic Seafloor

Of the numerous underway scientific sensors that the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy is outfitted with, the most asked about and visually appealing is certainly the technology we use to map and visualize the seafloor.

July 21: Finding your BEARing

July 21: Finding your BEARing

Polar bear research is a team effort – there are the lucky few who get to go out and work with the bears directly, but there are far more researchers who work on polar bear data and never have the opportunity to see them in the wild.

July 20: The Wing Beat

July 20: Tracing the Arctic’s Present, Past, and Future Water Cycle: Stable Isotope Biogeo-chemistry Aboard the USCGC Healy

Isotopes are everywhere and can help scientists map intricate food webs. It is essential that the Arctic food web is better understood as the climate continues to change.

July 18: The Wing Beat

July 18: The Wing Beat

Seabirds are a diverse group of birds that spend most of life at sea and only come to land for a short period each year to nest. Seabirds’ unique connection to the marine environment makes them excellent indicators of the marine ecosystem’s function, health, and change.

July 16: Ice Coring in the Arctic

July 16: Ice Coring in the Arctic

The ice team, consisting of Dr. Eric Collins, Kyle Dilliplaine, and Brian Ulaski, is lowered in a man basket to the ice below from the deck of the Healy. After a core is retrieved, samples are immediately sectioned using hand saws in the field, if time permits, or brought back to the boat for processing there.

July 14: First Station

July 14: First Station

The first station went by like a whirlwind! Our sampling was delayed by a few days due to ice conditions. Once we arrived, we started our 24-hour day of science.

July 12: Go with the Floe

July 12: Go with the Floe

In the months leading up to this expedition, news was circulated that 2016 is on track to set a new minimum for sea ice in the Arctic. We were all concerned about these predictions and the implications for both the ecology of the Chukchi Sea as well as the impacts on our science mission.

July 10: The Fluke and Flipper Survey

July 10: The Fluke and Flipper Survey

As part of the Chukchi Borderlands expedition, a marine mammal watch is held on the bridge while we are underway. One observer looks around constantly while the second is responsible for both observations and data input.

July 8: Welcome to the Arctic!

July 8: Welcome to the Arctic!

The air gets noticeably crisper as we pass through the Bering Strait, approaching the Arctic Circle. Members of the science team gather on the bridge to experience this momentous occasion.

July 6: The Global Explorer ROV

July 6: The Global Explorer ROV

The Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Global Explorer is a precision tool used to collect data and physical samples far beyond where humans can reach on their own.

July 4: Celebrating Independence Day at Sea

July 4: Celebrating Independence Day at Sea

Fireworks. Parades. Picnics. Dogs with bandanas. Friends. Family. These are the things I think about when I think of celebrating the Fourth of July. However, this year is a little different as we continue our transit to the Chukchi Borderlands.

July 2: Unique Recognition for a Unique Expedition

July 2: Unique Recognition for a Unique Expedition

It is a privilege and an honor to be a member of any exploration team, whether you dive into the depths of the ocean, climb the highest peaks, or fly to the stars. The Hidden Ocean: Chukchi Borderlands 2016 expedition is no exception.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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