Over 50 guests visited Oceanlab in the evening of 7th September for an event titled 20000 Leagues Under The Sea. The event was sponsored by Statoil.
Professor Ursula Witte talked about the history of our University of Aberdeen site in Newburgh. Opened in 1958 by Professor Vero C Wynne-Edwards FRS (Professor of Natural History) and with George M. Dunnet as the first director, Culterty Field Station pioneered the study of wildlife in the surrounding natural environment of the Ythan Estuary and the Forvie National Nature Reserve. Since 2001 the site has been occupied by the unique Oceanlab facility and studies the deep sea using hi-tech robot vehicles capable of diving to the bottom of the ocean’s deepest trenches. Ursula talked about the effects of pressure in the deep sea and, with the assistance of our Test Technician, Neil Gregge, guests enjoyed an experiment with polystyrene cups to simulate the effect of pressure.
Dr Georgios Kazanidis talked about cold water coral and sponge reefs. People tend to think of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and snorkelling in shallow waters but there are many coral reefs close to home in deeper, colder waters to the west of Scotland.
Professor Frithjof Kuepper talked about seaweed biodiversity in the context of polar climate change and how the loss of sea ice affects the algae.
Our Engineers, Dr Stewart Chalmers and John Polanki talked about our landers and long-term environmental monitoring. John spoke about the DELOS project and the service provided by Oceanlab which has recently become bi-annual and he and Stewart are about to undertake this in Angola next month. A lander demonstration followed in our immersion tank. However on this occasion the lander failed to respond and return to the surface due to a problem with the deck control unit, which reflects what can sometimes happen in real life working.
Fiona handing over to Ursula Presentation by Frithjof
Author: Fiona Barr