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