Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ocean Exploration with David Gallo

   Dr. Gallo gave a fascinating lecture tonight about the earth's water,  complete with videos and a surprising amount of humor for such a brilliant scientist. Summary: Are we taking the oceans for granted? David Gallo, oceanographer and Director of Special Projects at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, thinks we are, and he is becoming increasingly outspoken about the relationship between humanity and the sea. He feels strongly that we need to recognize the oceans’ critical role in providing the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Dr. Gallo is personally committed to conveying the excitement and importance of ocean exploration to the public-at-large.

   Here are some of the stats that he shared:
- 70% of earth is covered by water, and only 8% of that has been explored
- the mid ocean ridge is a 50k mile range of mtns under the sea
- he showed images of rivers & lakes underwater (that one blew my mind!) and an underwater waterfall of dense water between Iceland & Greenland--5x higher than angel falls in Venezuela
- our oceans are 2.5 mi deep, which is relatively shallow; the actual amount of water is equal to size of ping pong ball, covering a planet the size of a basketball.  We must learn to conserve water!
- hydrothermal vents at the bottom of sea spout 700 degree volcanic, sulfuric water from chimneys. Previously assumed to be barren, they actually hold 300 kinds of life, 297 never seen before anywhere else
- Roger hanlon studies octopus, which are able to match color, pattern, brightness, and texture of objects and therefore our masters of disguise 
- the moons of Jupiter & Saturn are smaller than our moon, but hold more water than earth
   Dr. Gallo reminded us that water isn't free, nor is it infinite. We expect it to flow every time we turn on the faucet, but if we continue on our current path of taking it for granted we are in for a rude awakening. He closed with a quote by Marcel Proust: "The only true voyage of discovery, the only fountain of Eternal Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds, that each of them is." What an exciting opportunity to see the world through Gallo's eyes!