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from the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Sustainable Seas Expeditions,
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Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary SSE Accomplishments Report

Dan Howard, mission coordinator, in the DeepWorker submersible.

The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary was the first sanctuary visited by the Sustainable Seas Expeditions. Here it was successfully demonstrated that scientists and educators could safely operate the DeepWorker submersible in the marine environment. Twelve dives, including night dives were completed, but due to high winds most of the dives were made in Drakes Bay, the contingency site. On April 25th, the one day that winds subsided enough to get offshore, four dives off the Farallon Islands were completed. Eight hours of observation were made over rocky reef habitat in 60 to 125 feet of water. The success of this day was an indication of what can be accomplished with the DeepWorker given an extended window of good weather.

However, when weather prohibited the launch of the DeepWorker, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) was used to gather images and data. The sanctuary collected about four hours of video during the Expeditions using an ROV. This footage includes hard bottom habitat around the Farallon Islands as well as documentation of soft bottom communities in the vicinity of Drakes Bay.

The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary mission coordinator in conjunction with the Sustainable Seas Expeditions chief scientists participated in an interactive Web chat during the cruise to electronically share pilot experiences and discoveries with the public. The exchange was spirited and interesting with many insightful and thought provoking questions and ideas. This mission of discovery was continued when the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association and the sanctuary hosted a very successful student summit at the University of California's Bodega Marine Laboratory in Bodega Bay. Over 125 students from five high schools gathered to participate in the Sustainable Seas Expeditions experience. After listening to presentations by Dr. Sylvia Earle and other DeepWorker pilots and talking with scientists and educators, students broke into small groups to design research projects based on what they had learned about the Expeditions and the DeepWorker.

 

When weather prohibited launching the DeepWorker, scientists made use of the capabilities of a small ROV borrowed from Deep Ocean Engineering and Research. (Photo credit: Jamie Hall)

 

During the Student Summit at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, the pilot teams discussed future projects with the students. (Photo credit: Karina Racz)

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