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Auburn University

2009 Gulf of Mexico Research Cruise


October 6th -  October 11th 2009

Ship in Antarctic

A group of scientists from Auburn University's (AU) Department of Biological Sciences will be conducting a research cruise into the Gulf of Mexico to study symbioses between bacteria and marine tubeworms. Drs. Ken Halanych, Kevin Fielman, Scott Santos and Dan Thornhill (now at Bowdoin College, Maine) are studying these tubeworms that dominate deep-sea habitats, including hydrocarbon seeps, and are one of the most successful animal groups with obligate symbioses. These worms lack a mouth and gut and rely exclusively on bacterial symbionts for their nourishment.

Traveling with this group of researchers will be Drake Middle School educator and former AU COSAM Outreach Specialist, Erin Edmondson. She will document the mission by providing pictures, daily articles, and blog entries back to her classroom and to this website. Prior to the trip, researchers are planning to participate in the G.U.T.S. program and visit students at Drake Middle School to spark interest in the research topic and the mission itself. Following the trip, researchers will visit Drake for a second time and will teach a continuation of the G.U.T.S. course to explain their findings. Video from the trip will be posted on the research website and on the COSAM Outreach YouTube channel. This research website is also equipped with a Q&A section in which questions will be sent directly to the scientists aboard the ship.

Follow us during our cruise through the Gulf of Mexico in the daily cruise journals.


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