Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Fiji/Lau Expedition
May 15–June 3, 2005

Please visit the Ridge 2000 website for additional information.

May 31, 2005:

Today's dive at White Lady produced some interesting results. A spectacular Alviniconcha snail (image on right) captured the attention of our resident malacologist. Anders said he has not seen it before, and will reserve judgement until further analysis back on land. This beautiful, shiny metallic looking snail is three to five times larger than the more common variety we are finding. Alviniconcha prefer to live right in venting water where they bathe their gills filled with symbiotic bacteria in hot sulfide-rich water. The shiny snails were found in temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celsius. The hottest vent waters in this area were 274° Celsius (512° Fahrenheit). The hot water entrains surrounding sea-water at 3° Celsius and cools quickly to balmy temperatures that the appear to favor. These beautiful snails will catch the eye of our resident bio-illustrator.

Karen Jacobsen has been a bio-illustrator for over twenty years. Her Science Communication Degree from UCSC has opened many doors. She has sailed on nine different science expeditions, sometimes drawing forty to fifty specimens. Karen has been to most of the world's major hydrothermal vent areas. Palette, brushes and microscope are located in the main lab, for quick access to specimens. Not only does Karen produce amazingly detailed watercolors, her remarkable eye for detail allows her to see features that the scientists often overlook.


Karen's painting of an Austinograea crab.

Karen's watercolor of four deep sea gastropods.

Tomorrow is the last dive. Last minute decorating of Styrofoam cups (image on right) took priority late into the evening. Ordinary Styrofoam cups are painted in any fashion the artist and scientists prefer. Some looked as if Michaelangelo painted them. The cups are all placed in a cloth bag. The next morning, the artistic payload is put aboard Jason II and taken to the deep depths of the sea. The amazing pressures, one additional atmosphere per thirty feet, compress the cups to the size of large thimbles. The colors condense, producing a colorful, low cost souvenir to remember the cruise.
–Todd Bliss


Todd opening mussels.

Katharine enjoys a quiet moment with Karen's paintings.


Taylor, Katharine, Anders, and Greg enjoy Karen's art show in the Mess Hall


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