Friday, July 24, 2009

Scientific and Recreational Diving in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (TBNMS) is primarily known for its vast number of shipwrecks. An estimated 200 shipwrecks reside within and just outside the sanctuary’s waters. These wrecks range from nineteenth century lake schooners and paddleboats to perhaps Thunder Bay’s last wreck, the German freighter Nordmeer, which wrecked near Thunder Bay Island in 1966.

Each year hundreds of recreational divers come to TBNMS to brave the chilly waters of Lake Huron for a chance to glimpse sunken history. In addition to the recreational divers, the sanctuary has a team of scientific and archaeological divers working to protect, preserve and learn more about the sanctuary’s known wrecks as well as research and explore for undiscovered wrecks.

Scientific diving requires additional skills and training above and beyond what is required for a typical recreational diver. While diving to depths greater than 30 meters can be considered advanced for a recreational diver, imagine having to dive to that depth and greater to set up equipment or take samples!

The chilly water temperatures of Lake Huron also require divers to use dry-suits almost all year long. Water near the bottom of the Middle Island Sinkhole in early September is a brisk 38 degrees Fahrenheit!

TBNMS divers have played an important role in sinkhole exploration. Scientists depend on the divers to collect samples of the purple and white microbial mats at the bottom of the sinkhole and deploy and position instrumentation, such as the respiration chambers and tripods for accurate data collection. Divers also provide underwater photographs and video of the sinkholes.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What is Geothermal Energy

Several technologies have been urbanized to take benefit of geothermal energy. Geothermal is the heat from the earth. This heat can be drawn from the earth using many sources like hot water or steam reservoirs deep in the earth that are accessed by drilling; geothermal reservoirs located near the earth's surface, mostly located in western states, Alaska, and Hawaii; and the shallow ground near the Earth's surface that maintains a relatively constant temperature of 50°-60° F.

This variety of geothermal resources allows them to be used on both large and small scales. A utility can use the hot water and steam from reservoirs to drive generators and produce electricity for its customers. Other applications apply the heat produced from geothermal directly to various uses in buildings, roads, agriculture, and industrial plants. Still others use the heat directly from the ground to provide heating and cooling in homes and other buildings.

Other geothermal resources exist miles beneath the earth's surface in the hot rock and magma there. In the future, these resources may also be useful as sources of heat and energy.

Saturday, July 04, 2009


Scottish embryologist Ian Wilmut presented Dolly, the cloned sheep, to a surprised world, ethicists and policymakers have been striving with the settling implications of his study. For years, cloning of adults, animals or humans has been largely the stuff of science invention. Because the successful cloning of a six-year-old sheep, many of the assumptions and questions being raised have roots in the fictional: Could Hitler or the Incan Ice Mummy brought back to life? Would humans be cloned only to cannibalize their organs?

Uses of Cloning
• The production of animals engineered to take human genes for the making of certain. proteins that could be used as drugs; the proteins would be take out from the animal’s
milk and used to treat human diseases
• The mass creation of livestock that have been hereditarily customized to possess certain desirable behavior.
• The upholding of endangered species.
• The production of offspring by infertile couples.
• The production of offspring frees of a potentially disease-causing genetic fault carried by one member of a couple; the person without the defect could be cloned.