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Hello everyone, Squirt here to say that the DEEPEND scientists are back in the Gulf of Mexico! They started their fourth cruise on August 5th and they have some very exciting things to share. Let's take a look!
Here we have one of the brightest orange/red fish I've ever seen! The Velvet Whalefish (Barbourisia rufa) feeds on crustaceans! This whalefish was roughly five inches in length and was trawled from between 1,000 and 1,200m depth. That's at least three empire state building stacked on top of one another!
Here is a close up!
The DEEPEND scientists also pulled up a Lanternfish! Lanternfishes often have photophores all over their bodies that produce light. The formation of the photophores is believed to be important so they can recognize the same species in the dark. This species (Diaphus fragilis) has glowing spots on its jaw as well as along its body. It also has a large light producing organ on the front of its face, like a built in flashlight. These fishes may use these lights to find food in the dark depths. How cool is that?
I can't wait to see what else the DEEPEND scientists have to teach us!
Until next time!
Squirt here with another small update!
In this picture you can see all the scientists that were working on the cruise to identify all the things the MOCNESS brought up. It's a time consuming process that includes weighing, measuring, labeling, and taking DNA samples to prove they have been identified correctly! While a lot of the work is done on the ship and at sea, there just isn't enough time to finish all the work that has to be done. Many of the scientists will label and freeze their samples so that they can continue the work in their own labs!
Here is one of the fish that was taken back to the University Lab! This is a Bluntsnout Smooth-head, trawled from between the surface and 1500 meters deep! The red spots below his eye are true photophores (they produce light). The photophores are spread all over its body.
The scientists also pulled up this larval (baby) blind lobster!
Being a researcher is a lot of work! Even though the cruise just recently ended there is still a lot of work to be done to prepare for the next cruise! That's all for now! If you have a question, please leave it in the comments below!
Hello everyone! Squirt here with more updates from the Gulf of Mexico!
Here we can see the the two blue propeller washes behind the ship. Look at how they glow! There are all kinds of life forms flashing and glowing in the water including jellyfish, shrimp, and siphonophores. Many of these life forms glow when they are touched or caught up in the sudden movement, like the current that was created by the ship's propellers. Pretty neat huh?
To think that the glowing blue water is actually made up of animals!
Speaking of fish that produce light and glow in the dark. Check out this Lampfish! This one has a row of electric blue scales along its dorsum! Also known as the back of the fish!
I have one more fish to introduce you to.
Meet the telescope fish! These guys use their incredible teeth to eat other fish! Their eyes are also especially adapted to locate other fish in the deep sea. In the top portions of the picture you can see the larval (baby) stages of this fish. Down at the bottom you can see the adult.
That's all for today, but if you have questions for any of the scientists, feel free to leave a comment!
Hey guys! Squirt here!
Have you enjoyed all the updates from my friend Flat Stanley? I know he is having a lot of fun learning from all the scientists out at sea! They have had a little trouble connecting to the internet but I have some cool updates to share with you!
Check out this juvenile (young) Flying Fish they encountered! I'm sure Flat Stanley was so excited to see this!
Here is an adult Flying Fish!
I guess now you can see why they call them flying fish? They look like they have wings, just like birds! Flying fish don't actually fly but they can glide above the water for a while! I hear that several landed on the boat while Flat Stanley and the scientists were out!
Flat Stanley also had the chance to meet the Cock-Eyed Squid! These wonderful squids get their name because they have one eye larger than the other. You can also see the beautiful colors and photophores (light producing organs) on this squid.
I'm so excited to see what else Flat Stanley and the scientists have in store for us.
Until next time!
Hey Kids! The spots on the side of this fish are called photophores. Photophores can produce light. Among many possible uses, photophores might assist fish with identifying their own species or in finding mates. These photophores were found on a viperfish!
Hey Kids! Squirt here to talk about blind lobsters!
Blind lobsters spend their larval (baby) stage in the water column. Once they mature to a specific stage, they begin to sink through the water column. As adults they live on the sea floor. DEEPEND scientists are still running tests in their labs to see what these lobsters look like as adults! Stay tuned!
It has been such an amazing year working with the DEEPEND scientists, and I'm excited to see what else they have in store! Thank you to everybody who continues to follow everything we are doing! Help us celebrate Squirt's birthday by sharing this post, or leaving a comment!
The DEEPEND scientists were hard at work last Friday in Tampa, Florida! There are so many scientists involved in this amazing project! They all had a chance to talk about their plans for 2016 and the amazing discoveries they made in 2015! A lot of the studies have actually never been done before. There are also so many new scientists and graduate students! Did you know that you can study to work with animals? I think that's one of the coolest things you can do! What do you want to be when you grow up? Leave your answers in the comments!
Some deep water shrimps release glowing fluid when startled by potential predators! This process is believed to be a defensive mechanism wherein the glowing blue cloud of material distracts the predator while the shrimp moves in the opposite direction. Can you think of some other ways animals have developed defense mechanisms? Leave them in the comments below!
Good afternoon everyone! Did you know that animals are divided into two main groups? These two groups are the invertebrates and the vertebrates. Today we will focus on invertebrates. An invertebrate is an animal that does not have a backbone (spine). Some examples of an invertebrate are dragonflies, clams, and worms. Most of Earth's animals are invertebrates! Some scientists think that 97% of all animals are invertebrates. That's a lot!
Let's take a closer look at some invertebrates that live in the Gulf of Mexico. These invertebrates were caught during the August 2015 DEEPEND cruise!
Check out the eyes on this crab:
Wow, this shrimp is very colorful:
Look at the pinchers on this lobster:
I can't believe I get to share my home with all of these amazing invertebrates. Scientists think the giant squid is the largest invertebrate on Earth. Even though I'm a different squid species, I'm also an invertebrate! That's all for today, thanks for joining me!
Hi everyone! Squirt here to talk about cephalopods. Cephalopods are a group of marine animals that includes cuttlefishes, nautiluses, octopods, and squids - like myself! There are over 900 known species of cephalopods. Cephalopods are invertebrates, this means they do not have a backbone. Some consider cephalopods the most intelligent marine invertebrates because they have big brains. Some cephalopods are bioluminescent while others can change colors like a chameleon when they feel threatened or want to blend in to their surroundings! One of the most noticeable features of cephalopods are their dangling arms. These arms help cephalopods capture prey and navigate through the water. Check out the arms on the cephalopods below. Octopus have 8 arms and squids have 8 arms and 2 tentacles….. Pretty cool tools to have when capturing food!
Squirt here! Did you know that light is made up of a rainbow of wavelengths? Marsh Myers tells us all about what happens to light in the ocean in the video I want to share with you today. He also shares with us how some animals camouflage in the dark waters. Ask an adult if you can make your own animal using construction paper. I'd love to see pictures of the animal you create in the comments section! Check out the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZyWUjedm7s
Hi everyone! Today I want to share a video about water pressure with you. Water pressure is the pressure exerted on an item due to the weight of water above it. The degree of water pressure increases as you dive deeper because more water is above you. This video shows you how water pressure affects different items. Ask an adult to help you try out the egg experiment Marsh Myers talks about. Please share your results in the comment section, I'm excited to see what you found. Just follow this link for the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTQ_7_DFGyQ
Good morning Kids! Are you ready for our next matching game?
This time we will dive into the depths of the bathypelagic layer. The bathypelagic zone extends from 4000 - 6000 meters. Waters in this layer is completely dark as no sunlight penetrates this deep. With the help of a light I caught a: giant isopod, threadfin dragonfish, phanthom anglerfish, google-eye, bathynermest, humpback anglerfish, squid, tripod fish, and slender snipe eel. Can you guess who's who in the image below? The answers can be found under the image.
A. Google-eye; B. Tripod fish; C. Giant isopod; D. Squid; E. Humpback anglerfish; F. Threadfin dragonfish; G. Slender snipe eel; H. Bathynemertest; and I. Phanthom anglerfish. Photographs by Dante B. Fenolio.
Hi everyone! How did you do on the epipelagic matching game from last week? I hope everyone did well and had fun!
This week I want to share with you some of the animals I found in the dimly lit mesopelagic layer. The mesopelagic layer extends from 200 - 1000 meters. Some light penetrates this zone until about 800 meters so it is sometimes called the twilight zone. In this layer I caught a: lanternfish, glass squid, waryfish, firefly squid, amphipod, hatchetfish, shrimp, heteropod, and viperfish. Can you guess who's who in the image below? The answers can be found under the image.
A. Firefly squid; B. Heteropod; C. Waryfish; D. Shrimp; E. Lanternfish; F. Glass squid; G. Hatchetfish; H. Viperfish; and I. Amphipod. Photographs by Dante B. Fenolio.
Hi everyone! Over the next few weeks I want to show you some of the plants and animals I caught during our dive into the deep. For this week I want you to see what I caught in the warm and sunny epipelagic layer. This layer is near the surface of the open ocean and extends to 200 meters in depth. The sunlight here allows plants to photosynthesize. I caught a crab larvae, seaweed, lobster larvae, sea snail, flying fish, juvenile sailfish, siphonophore, and crab zoea. Can you guess who's who in the image below? The answers can be found under the image.
A. Flying fish; B. Crab Larvae; C. Crab Zoea; D. Juvenile Sailfish; E. Siphonophore; F. Lobster larvae; G. Seaweed; and H. Sea Snail. Photographs by Dante B. Fenolio.
Good afternoon everyone! This week I am going to introduce you to some of our DEEPEND student scientists. On board the R/V Point Sur this cruise we had five graduate students. A graduate student is a college student who is working to earn a Masters or Doctoral degree.
The first graduate student I would like you to meet this week is Ms. Katie Bowen. Ms. Bowen grew up in Pennsylvania and recently moved to Florida to attend school.
Ms. Bowen is a graduate student at Nova Southeastern University working on her Masters degree in marine biology. As part of her studies Ms. Bowen is studying juvenile reef fishes collected in the Gulf of Mexico. Ms. Bowen wants to know where these fish live in the water column and how many species there are in the Gulf of Mexico.
Do you have any questions for Ms. Bowen? If so leave them in the comments area!