Recently I had the opportunity to partake in an 8-week research expedition with the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) onboard the JOIDES Resolution. IODP is an international marine research organization that drills into and collects sediments from the seafloor to investigate a broad range of scientific questions relating paleoclimates, oceanography, hydrodynamics, tectonics, sedimentology, and paleobiology. The primary objectives of our expedition (Expedition 356: Indonesian Throughflow) were to examine the 5-million year history of the Indonesian Throughflow, Australian monsoon, and tectonic subsidence on the northwest shelf of Australia.
Photo credit: Bill Crawford, Exp 356 Photo Specialist
Onboard as a research scientist, my role was Sedimentologist / Core Describer with expertise in macrofossil identification. Generally, the JOIDES Resolution drills in deep water (100’s to 1,000’s of meters deep), but for this expedition we were drilling in relatively shallow waters (<100 to only a few 100’s of meters) on the Australian shelf. By drilling in relatively shallow water, this increased our chances of encountering more macroscopic organisms that are commonly found on (or transported to) continental shelves, such as molluscs, corals, and echinoderms. In addition to identifying macrofossils found in the cores we recovered, I worked with my team of sedimentologists to describe the lithology of the sediment cored and define lithologic units based on changes in lithology down core and over geologic time.
Data collected during Expedition 356 is currently in moratorium, meaning that all data and samples are reserved first for the scientists who participated in the expedition. Data from the expedition will become available to the public in about one year, and results from scientists’ analyses and experiments will be published as peer-reviewed manuscripts over the next few years. Personally, my research will focus on taxonomic and ecologic questions relating to fossil corals recovered at various sites and geologic time intervals during the expedition.
If you would like to learn more about the International Ocean Discovery Program: http://www.iodp.org/
Or about my experience/research: http://marinepalaeoecology.org/chelsea-korpanty/
1 May 2015
An international team of scientists has used the fossil record during the past 23 million years to predict which marine animals and ecosystems are at greatest risk of extinction from human impact. In a paper published in the journal Science, the researchers found those animals and ecosystems most threatened are predominantly in the tropics…
19 November 2014
Queensland scientists delving into newspaper archives have discovered that catch rates for Queensland’s pink snapper fishery have declined almost 90 per cent since the 19th Century.
Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at The University of Queensland and the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry examined thousands of newspaper articles dating back to 1870 to reveal the historic catch rates for the iconic Queensland fishery…
20 December 2013
To put contemporary fishing trends into a longer-term context, researchers are mining the memories of Queensland fishers and trawling through 140 years of historical records.
While fish-landing statistics in Queensland have been collected since the 1940s, they only provide an indication of what was caught and processed and do not include many of the other forms of data available such as fishing reports in newspapers or magazines…
5 August 2013
Profound changes are taking place in marine life around the planet in response to global warming, an international team of scientists has found.
Marine species – including fish, shellfish, crustaceans, plankton, mangroves and seagrasses – are now shifting the areas they inhabit at an average rate of 72 kilometres per decade as a result of one degree of planetary warming…
12 December 2012
There is growing scientific concern that corals could retreat from equatorial seas and oceans as the Earth continues to warm, a team of international marine researchers warned today.
Working on clues in the fossil coral record from the last major episode of global warming, the period between the last two ice ages about 125,000 years ago, the researchers found evidence of a sharp decline in coral diversity near the equator…
7 November 2012
Australian marine scientists have unearthed evidence of an historic coral collapse in Queensland’s Palm Islands following development on the nearby mainland.
Cores taken through the coral reef at Pelorus Island confirm a healthy community of branching Acropora corals flourished for centuries before European settlement of the area, despite frequent floods and cyclone events. Then, between 1920 and 1955, the branching Acropora failed to recover…
2 October 2012
Life in the world’s oceans faces far greater change and risk of large-scale extinctions than at any previous time in human history, a team of the world’s leading marine scientists has warned.
The researchers from Australia, the US, Canada, Germany, Panama, Norway and the UK have compared events which drove massive extinctions of sea life in the past with what is observed to be taking place in the seas and oceans globally today…
2 October 2012
John Pandolfi keeps his optimism alive despite the grim scientific evidence he confronts daily that the world’s coral reefs are in a lot of trouble – along with 81 nations and 500 million people who depend on them…
13 June 2012
A new scientific study has identified two distinct populations of white shark at the east and west of Bass Strait in Australian waters, prompting researchers to suggest the huge fish may need regional conservation plans…