This week Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University welcomes the 146 foot Baseline Explorer to continue collaborative research and exploration between HBOI-FAU and Global Underwater Explorers (GUE). GUE is a nonprofit organization founded by Dr. Todd Kincaid, Jarrod Jablonski, and Robert Carmichael that is dedicated to the exploration and conservation of the underwater world. In 2009, GUE established Project Baseline, a grassroots, environmental conservation initiative that has empowered citizens and divers to observe and record change within the world’s aquatic environments.
Harbor Branch researchers, including Dr. Voss, Dr. Shirley Pomponi, Michael, Jennifer, and Alycia will partner with GUE during a research cruise this week to explore Oculina reefs lying 7 miles offshore from St. Lucie Inlet, Florida. Building on extensive research by HBOI's John Reed, the mission will utilize the Baseline Explorer's two submersibles and an advanced technical dive team from GUE to observe and document the status of these currently unprotected Oculina populations. The dive teams will attempt to collect coral samples to aid in our assessments of coral health and ecological connectivity. We will also be using our new Inspire quadcopter to capture footage of submersible and tech diving operations during the mission. We look forward to a productive cruise with GUE and Project Baseline, and toward expanding the collaborative research, exploration, and outreach opportunities between HBOI-FAU and GUE in the future!
More about Baseline Explorer:
Baseline Explorer is a private research vessel, owned and operated by Brownies Global Logistics since the start of 2015. The ship is 146’ long with a 36’ beam and is equipped with two manned submersibles, a recompression chamber, and gas compressors to support advanced diving operations to depths of 1,000’. To date, Brownies Global Logistics as has supported marine research by teaming with three universities (including FAU-Harbor Branch) in Florida, the Azores, and Portugal. For more information, visit