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For Immediate Release
November 10, 2003

Life Under the Sea: Georgia Tech Team Lives Underwater to Study Coral Reefs


Georgia Tech Professor of Biology Mark Hay will lead a six-person team of scientists on a 10-day underwater research mission starting November 10 in the Florida Keys aboard the NOAA-owned Aquarius ocean laboratory.

Georgia Tech graduate students Deron Burkepile (left) and Brock Woodson prepare for the 10-day mission aboard the NOAA-owned Aquarius.
 

Hay’s team will use its experience in marine ecology and chemical ecology to investigate how grazers -- specifically parrotfish and surgeonfish -- affect seaweeds and corals in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Using Aquarius gives Hay and his colleagues an ideal platform from which to set up their experiments and to make observations.

Aquarius is a one-of-a-kind underwater ocean laboratory deployed three and half miles offshore, at a depth of 60 feet, next to spectacular coral reefs. Scientists live in Aquarius during 10-day missions using saturation diving to study and explore the coastal ocean. Aquarius is owned by NOAA and is operated by the National Undersea Research Center (NURC) at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW).

During each Aquarius mission, anyone with Internet access can watch live web cameras, read expedition journals from the scientists aboard, view project summaries and pictures, and much more at the NURC/UNCW Aquarius Web site:(www.uncw.edu/aquarius).

A diver prepares to enter the NOAA-owned Aquarius where Georgia Tech researchers will be studying coral and seaweeds during a 10-day mission.
 

Hay, who is leading this Aquarius mission, is an experimental ecologist. He uses field and laboratory experimentation to assess how consumer-prey interactions, competition and physical stresses interact to determine community structure and ecosystem function in temperate versus tropical oceans, and in marine versus freshwater systems.

To read more about the aquatic chemical ecology research of Hay and his Georgia Tech colleagues, see (gtresearchnews.gatech.edu/reshor/rh-w03/).

RESEARCH NEWS & PUBLICATIONS OFFICE
Georgia Institute of Technology
177 North Avenue NW
Atlanta, Georgia 30332 USA

MEDIA RELATIONS CONTACTS: gtresearchnews@gatech.edu

NURC/UNCW: Steven Miller (305-451-0233) or Mark Ward (407-254-0840), NURC Public Affairs.

TECHNICAL CONTACT: Mark Hay (404-894-8429); E-mail: (mark.hay@biology.gatech.edu).

WRITER: Jane Sanders