Diver for a Day

Friday Harbor Labs runs a Diver-for-a-Day program that brings students (typically elementary age) out on our R/V Centennial for a half day.  Divers don a full-face AGA mask with a wireless microphone to communicate with the boat and a tethered video camera to transmit video.  We go for a ~30min dive, showing the students around the undersea world.  The microphone system lets us speak directly with students, answer their questions while on the dive, and zoom the camera in on the things they get particularly interested in.

The trip begins with an introduction the equipment we use and a little about diving practices.

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Make sure to wear your halo.

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It’s a long way back to the surface.

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Eye to eye with the diver.

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Is everyone ok?

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Getting strapped in.

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While we’re underwater, here’s what the students see.

They sent us some great thank you cards too!

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Rockfish-Octopus Interactions

Last night I had the pleasure to give a talk about my research to a group of Shaw Islanders.  Part of this talk was an introduction to a research project I have planned for later this summer involving the interactions between octopus and rockfish.

This octopus project is funded by a generous donation from Robbie and Jan Macfarlane, Shaw Island residents who wished to establish and solidify connections between Shaw Islanders and the researchers at the UW Friday Harbor Labs.  The goal is to encourage researchers to build relationships with the Shaw community, and to include the Shaw community in the research taking place on their island and in their waters.  This connection began with my talk, and will also include a second talk on Shaw after the project finishes with the results we found.  I will also be posting updates here as the research progresses.  Robbie and Jan’s support allowed us to purchase several GoPro cameras which we will be using to record time-lapse videos of octopus and rockfish behavior in the wild.

This is a video I’ve posted before, and this individual is one of the octopus we’ll be following for this study (or at least whichever octopus is currently occupying this den).  Look closely at the end of the video and you’ll see a rockfish swim away from the front of the den as the octopus jumps in, and a tentacle snake out the back entrance to the den, which was chasing out a second rockfish.  These are the kinds of interactions we’ll be looking for – stay tuned for more info soon!