Researchers journey into midnight zone


On June 8, a team of researchers set out on a two-week mission to explore the water column in some of the deepest parts of the Gulf of Mexico. In particular, they’re focused on organisms living below 3,280 feet – also known as the midnight zone thanks to the lack of light.

The Department of Biological Sciences’ Dr. Heather Bracken-Grissom and Dr. Lorian Schweikert are among the researchers that are making observations and collecting samples. Their goal is to determine what happens to deep-sea animals when light is taken away from them.

Samples collected will be used to further study the characterization of visual systems, bioluminescence and fluorescence of organisms living at this depth. Follow along as researchers provide updates and reflections on their experiences, the science, the technology and other elements of the expedition through NOAA mission logs.