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Mercer Island student learns about science under the sea

The remotely operated deep water vehicle, Hercules, is readied to make a dive off the Cayman Islands. Films of underwater wildlife are collected for research.  - Contributed photo
The remotely operated deep water vehicle, Hercules, is readied to make a dive off the Cayman Islands. Films of underwater wildlife are collected for research.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Elizabeth Vanderwall, a senior at Mercer Island High School, is one of 12 high school students selected to participate in this year’s 2013 Ocean Exploration Trust Honors Research Program this summer.

After five weeks at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography learning about oceanography, data visualization techniques, and the scientific research process, Vanderwall will join the E/V Nautilus in the Cayman Islands for a week to explore biological and geological systems of the Mid-Cayman Rise as a data logger alongside scientists, engineers and educators.

Using deep sea technology and remotely operated vehicles, the team will explore what lies at the depths of the ocean, including sea life and hydrothermal vents, up to approximately 4,000 meters.

Scientists know more about the surface of Mars than they do about what lies at the bottom of the sea, Vanderwall said. In fact, over 90 percent of the ocean is unexplored.

The expedition will be shared with the world live using telepresence technology, revealing the wonders of the undersea world in real time in an effort to engage and inspire a new generation of young explorers to be a part of the exploration as it happens.

You can follow the ocean Exploration Vessel Nautilus in the Cayman Islands this week with Vanderwall at www.nautiluslive.org.

Ever wondered what life looks like deep in the ocean?

Check out the video of a ‘dumbo octopus’ that the team saw last week, www.nautiluslive.org/ video/2013/08/21/nautilus-dive-highlight-dumbo-octopus.

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