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NOAA, Ocean Explorer: Cayman Islands Twilight Zone 2007 Expedition



Follow highly trained technical divers as they mount an expedition into the rarely explored Cayman Islands Twilight Zone.



 



Photo and Video Gallery
This page contains a complete gallery of photos and video taken during the Cayman Islands Twilight Zone 2007 expedition that took place May 21 - May 31, 2007.



May 31 Log: Confessions of a Barophile
The Cayman Island Twilight Zone 2007 exploration, science team gives a sense of the reason why they are doing this kind of research, their results to date, and a strong commitment to see these relatively unknown ecosystems conserved. In addition to documenting the transition community, we have demonstrated the capabilities of technical diving for deep reef research.



May 30 Log: Scientific Collaboration
This expedition has been an enlightening look into the very definition of scientific collaboration. Scientists do not work in a vacuum, they discuss ideas over breakfast, on the boat en route to dive sites, and while hauling someone else’s gear from one place to another. They stimulate and inspire each other through discussion, debate and spirited discussion. They share resources, information, data, and opinions freely in a spirit of academic community.



May 29 Log: Zonation on Walls
The Twilight Zone seems to be home to one of the most diverse and abundant sponge assemblages in the Caribbean Basin. There appear to be several extremely rare or new species within this community and these sponges make their shallow-water relatives look minuscule; we saw deep reef species that exceed 12 ft in diameter!



May 28 Log: Drug Discovery in the Twilight Zone
The ocean is still a largely untapped source of important biotechnology products, and Team Twilight Zone is focused on fluorescent proteins, which are useful in biomedical research, and drug discovery efforts. Learn how this drug discovery angle of research works.



May 27 Log: Deep Corals
One of our primary goals for the Ocean Exploration program has been to characterize deep coral reef communities in order to determine whether the patterns found in the Cayman Islands are broadly applicable to the wider Caribbean. Join scientist as they gain a general first impression of the differences between prior work on the walls of the Bahamas, and current dive sites on the walls of Little Cayman.



May 26 Log: Predator Deterrence
Can’t move away when a predator tries to take a bite! Sessile (attached to the bottom) animals and plants need to have other types of defenses that protect them from predators. Learn how this is done.



May 25 Log: The Ocean's Invisible Majority
Although not seen by the naked eye, a milliliter (1/1000 of a liter) of seawater contains thousands to millions of bacterial cells. Marine surfaces, from sand particles to corals, also contain large numbers of microorganisms. Discover the ocean’s invisible majority.



May 24 Log: Coral Fluorescence
One of the reasons that so many people enjoy diving under clear blue seas to study, or just to look at, coral reefs is the sheer amount of diversity. Coral reefs harbor more species of organisms than tropical rain forests, hence we have yet to scratch the service of all the species on a coral reef.



May 23 Log: Caribbean Deep and Shalow Reef Sponges
Join scientist as they try to better understand the role of Caribbean sponges in coral reef ecosystems and how deep-water sponges grow larger and faster than those found in shallow water.



May 22 Log: Technical Diving Preparations
Team Twilight Zone (TZ) has arrived on Little Cayman Island to begin preparations for the deep diving component of our Ocean Exploration project. The water looks great, and while we are all anxious to see what is down there, we recognize that safety considerations warrant a little more patience on our part.



May 21 Log: Coral Stress and Connectivity to the Deep Reef
Global climate change and human-related activities have resulted in a variety of coral stress-specific outcomes including bleaching and disease. One of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s priorities is to protect, restore and manage coastal and ocean resources. Approximately 70% of the world’s reefs have been destroyed or are considered threatened by human activities.



The Cayman Islands Twilight Zone 2007 Podcast
Watch a NOAA video podcast on the Cayman Islands Twilight Zone 2007 expedition that will take place in the Caribbean Sea between Cuba and Jamaica. The podcast shows a few images from a team of highly trained technical divers and support divers who are about to mount an expedition into the Twilight Zone of the Cayman Islands. The deep fore-reef, or Twilight Zone [about 50-150 m], has rarely been explored.



Biodiversity
Biodiversity is defined by ecologists as the sum variation within the genes and the species of a given region. Learn why the biodiversity of vertical walls can be impressive and is often highest in biological transition communities found at the border of two discrete biotic regions, such as in the Twilight Zone.



Biotechnology
Biotechnology is defined as the industrial use of living organisms or biological techniques developed through basic research; marine biotechnology is an emerging discipline based on the use of marine natural resources. Learn why potential biotechnological applications related to drug discovery, environmental remediation, increasing seafood supply and safety, and developing new resources and industrial processes are a result of adaptation of organisms to the harsh environment of the Twilight Zone.



Technical Diving
The Twilight Zone explorers will use open-circuit and closed-circuit technical diving in the course of this expedition. Learn about the considerations that lead to the use of one or the other techniques and how SCUBA has evolved throught the years.



The Cayman Islands Twilight Zone 2007 Explorers
Read about the highly trained technical diving research team and share the excitement of at-sea discoveries of the rarely explored Cayman Islands Twilight Zone.



Mission Plan
This 2007 expedition to the Cayman Islands will set new benchmarks in ocean exploration technical diving research. Remarkable advances in this technology will allow for divers to share the excitement of the rarely explored Twilight Zone discoveries in a much more personal way.