UNCW Professor Conducts Research on Titanic Expedition

Steve W. Ross, research professor at the Center for Marine Science, will be the chief scientist of the Titanic Survey Expedition 2022 commissioned by OceanGate Expeditions of Nassau, Bahamas, according to a UNCW press release.

Ross will lead an international team of scientists this summer in an unprecedented study of marine ecosystems on and near the wreck of the Titanic, the statement said.

“This opportunity to work with some of the best scientists in the world continues to place UNCW at the forefront of marine research,” said Ross, who specializes in corals, fish and underwater canyons, in the communicated. “Previous dives on the Titanic have primarily focused on the wreck and associated archaeology. We seek to compile a list of all the living creatures we can identify inhabiting the Titanic wreck site to understand this unique ecosystem. On the high seas. “

The infamous Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic, a British luxury passenger ship that sank on its maiden voyage in 1912, lies approximately 2.4 miles below the surface of the ocean off Newfoundland and serves as a refuge for life forms such as corals, squat lobsters, brittlestars and rattail fish, according to the release.

Ross and scientists from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom will conduct a series of five 10-day missions beginning and ending in St. John’s, Newfoundland aboard a research expedition vessel . They will descend to the wreckage using OceanGate’s Titan, the only five-person manned submersible in the world capable of going that far, the statement said. The unique vessel will allow researchers to collect data from the site, collect high-definition video and photography, and perform environmental DNA analysis, according to the release.

“We want to understand what supports the fish and corals that make this deep ocean artificial reef their home, what’s in the water column, and add a biological layer to the GIS mapping effort that started last year,” Ross said in the statement. “In addition to collecting important ecological and archaeological data, we hope that this new information will also contribute to the conservation of the wreck site.”

For deep-sea ecologists, the expedition represents a unique experimental opportunity to study how the wreck has affected the ecology for several hundred years. According to Ross, they will be able to better determine if the breakdown of the iron and steel that makes up the wreck is detrimental to the ecosystem or enhancing the soft bottom habitat.

“The opportunity for Dr. Ross and his colleagues to study the ecosystems on such a unique and historic artifact, the RMS Titanic, with state-of-the-art non-invasive techniques offers unprecedented insight into one of the greatest environments in the world. Earth,” said Ken Halanych, executive director. from the UNCW Center for Marine Sciences, in the statement.

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