EDUCATION: Dive Into the Undersea World

Science  24 Sep 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5692, pp. 1881a
DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5692.1881a

If you've ever wondered what it's like to nose up to the strange creatures that thrive around deep-sea vents, check out Ocean Explorer. The educational site from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) brims with videos, animations, maps, and photos describing the world's largely unexplored seas.

Students and other visitors can follow current or recent NOAA expeditions to destinations such as the seamounts of the Gulf of Alaska, where in August scientists documented a dazzling assortment of colorful corals. Or visit the Magic Mountain site more than 1700 meters below the surface near Vancouver Island, Canada. Discovered in the early 1980s, chimneys there spew searing, sulfur-rich water that nurtures bacteria, tubeworms, crabs, and pallid octopods. Users can also peruse a gallery of undersea life (above, a sea anemone), tune in to sounds such as the throbbing song of a blue whale, or read up on ocean-probing technologies like submersibles.

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