Video tour of underwater laboratory to be featured at Studium Generale

PORT ANGELES — Deborah Kelley, a marine biologist and professor in the University of Washington’s School of Oceanography, will be the speaker Thursday during Peninsula College’s Studium Generale series.

The event, co-sponsored with the PC STEM club, is free and open to the public. It will begin at 12:35 p.m. in The Little Theater on the college’s Port Angeles campus, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., and will be live-streamed at pencol.edu.

The lecture, “Wiring an Active Underwater Volcano: Eruptions, Hot Springs and Novel Life Forms,” will be a video-illustrated tour of deep-sea habitats off the coast of Oregon, home to the most dynamic and extreme environments on earth.

Kelley will lead participants on a tour of the Regional Cabled Array, an underwater laboratory that streams live data from more than 150 instruments to shore daily.

Using high-definition video from deep-diving remotely operated vehicles, the tour will include the Cascadia Margin, where methane-rich fluids rise from biological-rich seeps on the seafloor, sometimes explosively.

Traversing down the slope to nearly 10,000 feet beneath the ocean’s surface, the tour will encounter a rare fish, first viewed off the coast in 2014, and never before filmed.

Finally, it will include the largest volcano off the Oregon Coast, Axial Seamount. The volcano erupted in 1998, 2011 and 2015 and is poised to erupt again. The underwater hot springs host some of the most novel organisms on earth, thriving at temperatures of more than 200 degree Fahrenheit, using volcanic gases as their energy source instead of sunlight.

Kelley joined the faculty at the University of Washington in 1995 and has been a co-chief and chief scientist on numerous oceanographic excursions, participating in more than 40 blue water research expeditions. She has been on more than 50 dives in the submersible Alvin and is a co-author of the book “Discovering the Deep, A Photographic Atlas of the Seafloor and Oceanic Crust,” published by Cambridge University Press in 2015.

Kelley is currently the director for the underwater cabled component of the National Science Foundation’s Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Regional Cabled Array.

For more information about Studium Generale, email Kate Reavey at kreavey@pencol.edu.

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