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What Important Discovery Did Researchers on the Alvin Make?
After spending a year exploring the oceans, researchers on the Alvin are excited to return to the lab and make more discoveries. In late 2019, graduate students were allowed to work in the lab for twenty hours a week. This is far less than a full-time research schedule, but this is just a temporary fix. In 2020, full-time research is expected to resume. And in early 2022, another trip with the Alvin is planned. In this trip, a research team of 18 people will explore the ocean’s depths for an additional two weeks.
The Alvin had a relatively routine diving schedule, covering the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The vessel began its expedition in September 1969 and spent almost one year on the ocean floor. Throughout the voyage, the Alvin observed bioluminescent creatures swimming by the sub. Scientists also conducted research on marine snow, which is a material that accumulates on the ocean floor.
The researchers found evidence of worms living in vents. The researchers aboard the Alvin followed Crane’s navigation and told the pilot to look for white clam shells and volcanic glass near the vents. Although they were surprised to find these objects in the ocean floor, they didn’t realize how special they were.
The Alvin is an ocean exploration vessel. Its crew members are tasked with finding the largest and most diverse octopus species in the world. Its mission requires a specialized type of equipment and a large, deep ocean laboratory. Its crew of researchers aims to discover new species and understand the biology of octopuses. They will study the octopus’ diet and behavior to better understand its lifestyle.
‘Zombie sea sponge’
A remotely operated vehicle discovered an unusually large sea sponge north of the Hawaiian Islands. Researchers were able to collect footage of the huge creature, which was the size of a minivan. Scientists believe that the sponge evolved into its elaborate candelabra-like structure to increase its surface area.
The researchers exposed the sponge tissue to various chemicals to see whether they would emit light. They also tried to determine if the light would be caused by bacteria or other animals.
Researchers aboard the Alvin have discovered an ancient copper-hulled ship. This ancient ship was sunk 90 miles south of Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, in 1781. It was known to be the first vessel to be captained by a black man, and it was used during both World Wars.
A bus-length blob washes ashore in Chile, where some suspect it was a giant octopus. However, DNA analysis shows it is in fact old whale blubber. In addition, paleontologists from Germany have found the world’s oldest pantry, a system of underground burrows dug by an extinct species of ground squirrel or hamster. Inside, researchers find 1,800 fossilized nuts.
‘Warty’ sea cucumber
Scientists were able to locate the ‘Warty’ sea cucumber, a species of the giant, water-breathing worms, in its natural habitat. The researchers were able to observe this strange creature by watching the video footage that was beamed up from a deep-sea robotic vehicle called the Okeanos Explorer. This creature lives at depths of 196 to 4,440 metres. Its respiratory tree is filled with tiny ducts that draw in oxygen and then expel it through its anus and cloaca.
Unlike many other sea cucumbers, warty sea cucumbers lack a hard exoskeleton. Instead, they are covered in microscopic calcareous structures, called ossicles. These ossicles vary in shape depending on where they are found in the sea, and can be as long as 600 micrometers. They also have tube feet that enable them to move from place to place. Despite being so tiny, warty sea cucumbers can creep three feet or more in 15 minutes.