Published: August 3, 2012

Getting to Know the Deep Sea

Katherine Webbink, Information Systems Specialist, Information Technology


Janet Voight does much of her research over a mile below the surface of the ocean, where amazing creatures can be found near hydrothermal vents. Here, she recounts being chief scientist on the submersible ALVIN during dive #3939 in 2003.  After descending into an area that was extremely difficult to navigate by sonar, she and the crew were running the risk of returning to the surface empty-handed.  They had spent fruitless hours at the ocean floor in search of hydrothermal vents, when they happened upon a rare event involving the deep sea octopus Muusoctopus hydrothermalis (known until recently as "Vulcanoctopus hydrothermalis") and a swarm of amphipods...

For more details on Janet's previous dives in ALVIN, along the East Pacific Rise, visit her Field Museum Expeditions page, and spread some of her good advice on careful sampling methods when carrying out research in the watery depths.

Katherine Webbink

In the Technology Department, Kate works on cataloging the Field Museum's digital media--how do we preserve the digital media bits of natural history? For now, the answer here seems to involve a lot of DNGs. Going forward, digital formats and the workflows that go with them change all the time, so collections need to stay on their toes if they don't want to lose data and the ideas that go with them.