By: Rachel McEvers, Project Oceanica
You might be wondering exactly what it is we're doing out here. Yes, we told you we're mapping the seafloor, but how are we doing that?
The Principal Investigator (or "Head
Scientist"), Andy Shepard, hired a company called Seafloor Systems,
Inc. to help us with our mission. Seafloor Systems is an equipment rental
and personnel supply company for hydrographic survey (mapping the seafloor).
On this mission we're using multi-beam sonar and side-scan sonar. The
multi-beam sonar sends out a sound wave and has 101 transceivers
attached to the bottom of the ship to "hear" the signal that
returns when that sound wave bounces off the seafloor. It creates a
3-D computer diagram of the seafloor. The side-scan sonar also sends
out a sound wave but produces a black and white "acoustic photograph"
of the seafloor.
Why does Seafloor Systems offer
this kind of service and to whom? For our mission, this "map"
we create will help scientists better understand where large coral reef
habitats still exist. This is very important because these coral reefs
provide a habitat for a large number of fish species. Seafloor Systems
also does work with oil and gas companies and telecommunications companies
who need to know where they can lay their pipelines and communications
cables. This technology is also useful in harbors where there is heavy
shipping traffic to determine
where dredging is needed to keep the shipping channels clear.
Jerry Brantner (pictured left), a senior hydrographer from Seafloor Systems, is on board as a representative of the company to oversee operations and make sure things run smoothly. He arrived at the ship a couple of days before we left to set up all his computers, the transducers (they send the sound waves out), and all the other equipment necessary to complete our mission. He attended California State University and Monterey Bay and while there one of his professors asked if he would like to help in the Seafloor Mapping Lab. That's what got him hooked on hydrography. He went on to graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Earth Systems Science and Policy with a concentration in Coastal and Marine Ecology. We just had to ask him what kind of fish he would be and he said he would be a Cabezon. A what?! It's an endangered rockfish off the coast of California…pretty exotic! So, Jerry is a BONUS Career of the day!
CAREER OF THE DAY:
Corey Davis (pictured right), is an Able Seaman aboard the Liberty Star. Corey has been around water his whole life but didn't need any ship experience in order to become a crewmember. He said they do all the training once you're hired. Some of the training he has received includes firefighting, CPR, bridge resource management and standards in watch keeping. Crewmembers work their way up by logging sea time, receiving more training and gaining experience.Corey could gradually work his way up to Captain!
His duties include maintenance of the vessel, cleaning, being on the retrieval team for the NASA shuttle boosters and piloting the ship. He likes the fact that he learns something new everyday and the job is a constant learning experience. What he doesn't like? Rough seas!
When we asked him what kind of fish
he would be, after much thought and changing his mind, Corey decided
he would be an eel.
Lowcountry Hall of Science and Math
College of Charleston
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