Saturday, April 25, 2009

Undersea Voyager Project: Lake Tahoe

I had the opportunity to listen to Scott Cassel of the Undersea Voyager Project (UVP) talk about his 16 member teams plan to study the depths of Lake Tahoe during the month of May last night at the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences on the Sierra Nevada College campus in Incline Village, NV. His talk mainly consisted about his studies of the Giant Humboldt Squid that now occupies the waters from Alaska to South America devastating many consumable fishes including the Salmon population of Northern California. This would have been a fantastic talk for the members of my reef club MARS in Sacramento to hear.

Here is a video of a different presentation on Exploring Ocean Depths and The Undersea Voyager Project, including his studies on the Giant Squid. (EDIT: For some reason, this YouTube video will only play in the High Quality (HQ) mode. Please click on the "Play" button and then the HQ button to view video.)

The Undersea Voyager Project's mission statement is a non-profit organization established to circumnavigate and study the Earth's oceans (27,000 miles) at depths of 100–1,000 feet utilizing human piloted submersibles. The Project will advance and communicate scientific understanding of the oceans, their interrelationship with climate, and human impact on the marine environment to a global audience.

Their project in Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake will include studying ancient rooted trees at depths of over 150 feet, they will transect Lake Tahoe, evaluate three tsunami-producing fault lines underneath the lake, study animal and plant life, explore historic shipwrecks and perform water quality evaluation. They will also study algae growth and the introduction of invasive bivalves. UVP will use specialized UV lights on the submersible to 'fluoresce' the algae for effective locating and mapping of their presence.

From the UVP website, "Our mission is to learn more about Lake Tahoe's health, so its beauty can be preserved for future generations," said UVP captain and CEO, Scott Cassell. "If we can't save Lake Tahoe, how can we save the world's oceans?"

What's really cool about this project for myself and daughter is that we have volunteered our diving knowledge of the lake and will assist two or three dives a week working with the crew. My daughter Madison, Sierra Saltwater Systems secretary, has applied to be a Student Ambassador for the project working with the UVP's public relations officer, Google Ocean and creating a Powerpoint presentation to report back to student classrooms. She would actually get go in the submersible!

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