Discovery Deep Supports Mission Blue Success on Hatteras Hope Spot

Last Week at the 2016 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), held in Hawaii, Mission Blue succeeded in convincing the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to declare 14 different locations around the globe International Hope Spots. One spot in particular, Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, was declared a Hope Spot; Discovery Deep supported the effort.

Discovery Deep Provided Mission Blue with 360 degree videos from the Seascapes 360 Series, courtesy of our Media Director, Nic Fuller.

  • Seascapes 360°: U-352 in 360 - Filmed at the WWII war grave site of the German U-Boat U-352 near Cape Lookout.
  • Seascapes 360°: A Room with Sharks - Filmed at the wreck of the USS Aeolus; The room in the video is sometimes referred to as the "Aquarium" or the "Fish Tank" for all the fish, barracuda and sand tiger sharks that congregate there.
  • Seascapes 360°: Broken Papoose - Torpedoed in 1942 south of Hatteras by a German U-Boat.
  • Seascapes 360°: Graveyard of the Atlantic - includes multiple WWII wreck sites that are full of life, including the SS Indra, SS Papoose, and the SS Caribsea off Cape Lookout.
See more on Discovery Deep TV

The declaration of the Hatteras Seashore as an International Hope Spot marks a success for Discovery Deep in its partnership with Mission Blue. This year’s IUCN Congress was the “first-ever public forum for nominating Hope Spots” and Mission Blue’s numerous partners around the world gave them an advantage in advocating for the growth of these protected spots. (You can read the full Mission Blue article here)

Discovery Deep is excited about what the future holds in our partnership with Mission Blue. Our employment of virtual reality and 360-degree video underwater has enabled people to experience these locations as if they were diving, leading to an enhanced understanding of what makes them special.

Discovery Deep Welcomes New Team Members

This week at Discovery Deep we’d officially like to welcome four new members who’ve joined our team. We continue to grow day by day and the addition of these new team members will help us ‘Bring the Ocean out of the Ocean.’

Joyce Steinmentz will take the role of Chief Nautical Archaeologist. She’s currently completing her PhD in Nautical Archeology at East Carolina University and has already worked with Discovery Deep helping to document the JJF-Tramp artificial reef site and is developing projects for our future.

Joining Discovery Deep as our Finance Officer, Kari Garland will join in the management of our banking and financial operations with CFO Kevin More. Kari is an IT Security Specialist from Southern California.

From the University of North Carolina’s Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City, NC, Hayley Lemoine will be joining the communications team. Hayley is also a dive master, guide, and crew member at Olympus Dive Center and will be bringing her dive and marine sciences experiences to the team.

Tanya Houppermans, a professional underwater photographer, marine conservationist, and owner of Blue Elements Imaging LLC has also joined the team. Tanya will be supporting Discovery Deep projects with her photography talents, her writing skills, and her interest in educational outreach. Tanya has won multiple awards for her underwater photography, and we’ll be featuring her work on our website and throughout our various social media pages.

We’d like to extend another warm welcome to these new team members and are very excited for the future of Discovery Deep as our team expands and we continue to ‘Bring the Ocean out of the Ocean.’

Discovery Deep's 360-Degree Video Licensing Agreement

Discovery Deep's 360-Degree Video Licensing Agreement

Bringing the Ocean out of the Ocean

Discovery Deep is excited to announce that it has officially licensed one of Media Director Nic Fuller’s 360-degree videos (Seascapes 360°: Sitting Still in Little Cayman) to Provata Health of Portland, Oregon. Provata will incorporate the video into a mobile health and wellness app to help its clients reduce stress and anxiety. While employing 360-degree video in this way is unexpected to us, it is a novel way to “Bring the Ocean out of the Ocean” - our motto. The serene views and stunning seascapes at Little Cayman Island allow viewers to experience complete immersion in the underwater world. Discovery Deep is proud of Nic’s contribution to our work and wishes Provata Health all the best with its new mobile app.

New Technology

Today’s entertainment markets are saturated with content, and one of the biggest and most accessible outlets for this is YouTube. With creators popping up left and right, and new videos being uploaded every day, it’s difficult to stand-out from the crowd.

Discovery Deep has dedicated much time and energy to build Discovery Deep TV, our YouTube Channel, into an exciting place for new and innovative underwater content. Our goal is to create amazing virtual reality experiences of historic and natural undersea sites that casual viewers and non-divers might never be able to see on their own. One of those amazing experiences is 360-degree video.

What is 360-degree video?

360-degree video is an innovative way to for people to experience the underwater world. Using specially designed camera rigs to capture video or still imagery in a 360° field of view provides the freedom to visit an underwater site or shipwreck or reef as if they were there. These rigs are built of cameras in underwater housings placed in spherical patterns. They enable the videographer to capture overlapping imagery of a site in all directions.

That overlapping imagery is then combined digitally to create a video we can present on YouTube, Facebook or through a Google Cardboard viewer. They liberate the viewer to choose where they want to go within the video, whether they rotate around physically while wearing a VR headset or manipulate the virtual environment with their computer’s mouse. Keep an eye out for our newest videos and virtual reality projects!

Discovery Deep
Discovery Deep TV - Discovery Deep YouTube Channel
Provata Health

Discovery Deep Starts eDNA Sampling

Discovery Deep Starts eDNA Sampling

Discovery Deep team member Dr. Steve Klinker, a recent addition to the team, carried out the first sample collection of environmental DNA supporting Salford University (Manchester, UK) Professor Stefano Mariani’s Shark Biodiversity research. Steve, diving with buddy Steve Bourque, conducted two dives today just south of Jupiter, Florida. We’d like to congratulate the two Steve’s for their work!

Mariani’s Shark Biodiversity research aims to evaluate the use of environmental DNA collection to track shark populations through the organic matter they leave behind in the water column rather than relying solely on visual data. He and his grad assistant Judith Bakker working out of The Bahamas agreed to Discovery Deep’s proposal to support their research via the collection of samples from shark habitats to which Discovery Deep has ready access. So far their plan calls for collecting samples off the Florida California and North Carolina coasts. Other areas of the world may cone into play in the near future.

Discovery Deep Launches Kelp Forest Project

Discovery Deep Launches Kelp Forest Project

Between March 18th and 20th, Discovery Deep team members Nic Fuller, Rebecca Ziegler and Frank Stopa convened in San Diego, California to launch our Kelp Forest Project. In collaboration with Ocean Sanctuaries, a non profit marine conservation foundation based in San Diego, San Diego-based divers Bethy Driscoll and Jade Sommer, and Orange County, California diver David Hershman, the team spent the weekend diving off Point Loma and then at La Jolla Cove capturing video and 360-degree video to document the state of the kelp forests off the California coast.

On Saturday the 19th, the team worked with Captain David Hershman who took them to the area off the coast of Point Loma. They conducted two dives at the Broomtail site followed by one more dive at the Christmas Reef site. "The water was cool - in the mid-50's at depth - and the visibility was maybe 15 feet at best. Still we got a good appreciation for what the winter storms and El Nino had done to the kelp. Everywhere we looked we saw stalks of kelp broken off about two to threefrom the bottom," commented Stopa. "Despite that we did manage to collect some footage of the decimation, not to mention the overabundance of purple sea urchins, which eat the kelp."

On Sunday the 20th, Fuller, Ziegler and Stopa dove at La Jolla Cove north of San Diego to survey the status of the kelp there withe Driscoll and Sommer. After realizing the kelp was essentially gone, they conducted a shallower dive to capture video of the abundance of species in the water. The highlights of the day included a visit by a young sea lion who dropped right in amongst the divers. They also spent a fair amount of the dive snooping for horn sharks, which showed a willingness to come out of their rock crevices and pose for our cameras.

All in all the weekend was a good start to the project. Team members will continue their visits to La Jolla and sites closer up toward Los Angeles as the kelp recovers in the expectation that they'll document the difference between the regrown forests and the decimation they experienced this past weekend. The end goal will be the creation of 360-degree video vignettes of the kelp and a virtual reality tour of a representative kelp forest.