If you’re going to study the uncharted depths of the world’s oceans, what better base of operations than Hawaii, which is literally in the middle of it all? It has been said that humans know more about Mars and the Moon than they know of the deep-sea ecosystems right here on Earth, but researchers like Jonatha Giddens are seeking to change that.
A member of the ARCS Honolulu Chapter and a recipient of the 2015 Maybelle Roth Award in Conservation Biology, Giddens’ research with National Geographic’s Exploration Technology Lab aims to discover patterns in biodiversity in the deep sea and develop an index of deep ocean ecosystem health across the globe. They are using innovative technologies to capture video footage of deep-sea ecosystems that have not previously been surveyed, in hopes that the research will shine a light into the deep sea to celebrate our natural ocean heritage, and identify areas in need of protection.
“The ARCS Foundation Scholar Award impacted my graduate work by providing support and encouragement to go beyond the basic science, and take a multidisciplinary and innovative approach to my ecological studies,” Giddens said. “Even more than financial support, ARCS Foundation created a community among scholars. Even though our cohorts were from many different fields, we shared the same drive to discover the un-known and bring something of value back to our communities. The support and the community are what nurture this drive and propel us all forward in our work.”