Dr. Greg Stone, Conservation International’s Executive Vice President of Science and Oceans will lead a research team on September 5th on a journey 6000 feet below the ocean to study a set of seamounts, underwater volcanos. With partial support from The Baum Foundation, the science team and crew will be departing from Honokohau Harbor in Kailua-Kona to explore geologist seamounts off the Big Island of Hawaii. Joining the science team and crew are photographer Michael Garland, cinematographer Luis Lamar of Woods Hole Institute and Baum Foundation President, Glenn Bucksbaum. Scientists will board two submersibles, the Pisces IV and Pisces V, and the Ka’imikai-o-Kanaloa support ship, operated by the University of Hawaii, to explore the paramount marine structures Lō’ihi, Cook, and McCall seamounts. Scientists joining are Dr. M. Sanjayan, Executive Vice President and Senior Scientist of Conservation International, and Dr. Lida Teneva, Science Advisor to the Ocean Program at Conservation International.
Dr. Greg Stone is one of the world’s authorities on marine biology, is one of the authors of the Ocean Health Index, and has recorded over 7000 dives in his lifetime. One of the submersible pilots joining the expedition is Terry Kerby who has been the Chief Pilot for HURL (Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory under the University of Hawaii) since 1981. Terry has completed hundreds of submersible dives around the Hawaiian Islands and Central Pacific.
The expedition was organized with one of the primary goals being to learn about and better understand how seamounts function and the vital role they play as a part of the ocean ecosystem. Research will specifically target to learn how seamounts act as thriving habitats for benthic and pelagic marine life. Seamounts are extinct and active volcanoes that rise from the seafloor and do not break the surface; they are known as the mountains of the ocean. Seamounts are one of the most important ocean ecosystems beyond coastlines and a valuable source of minerals.
As not much is known about seamounts, the groundwork from this expedition will form the basis for all future seamount conservation efforts. Baum Foundation support for the expedition and Dr. Stone’s research are aligned with the Baum Foundation’s mission and the Conservation International’s Ocean Seascapes program vision to be on the next frontier of ocean protection and sustainability.