Greetings from Aquarius Land Base in Key Largo, FL!
Please join Virginia Institute of Marine Science researcher Dr. Mark Patterson, graduate student Noelle Relles, Virginia Sea Grant Marine Education Specialist and COSEE-NOW team member Chris Petrone and student volunteer Sarina Patterson on a 5-day expedition to map the coral reefs around the one and only Aquarius underwater habitat! Using autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) developed by Dr. Patterson, the science team will be using side-scan sonar and underwater video to determine the biodiversity of the coral reefs around the habitat, as well as what species live there.
The expedition website features daily blog entries, video, pictures and suggested lesson plans and other education resources. As a special bonus, the team will deliver two real-time online seminars where they will be not only describing the mission, but also accepting questions from participants. These webinars will take place Thursday, August 20 at 14:00 (2:00pm) EDT and Thursday, August 20 at 19:00 (7:00pm) EDT. The first will take place topside, above the Aquarius habitat, weather permitting, and focus on using Aquarius as a teaching and learning tool, while the second will take place from the Land Base and focus more on the project at hand, as well as some of the other research occurring at Aquarius. The real-time webinars are available to all, however only those that register (free) with Ustream will be able to post questions via instant chat. All participants are encouraged to provide feedback via an online survey which will be discussed during the webinars.
We hope you will join the expedition team as they set out to map Conch Reef, home of the world’s only underwater habitat!