Sunset on RV Sonne.

A time to thank

This is my second and last Blog for the AleutBio Expedition. We started this great hadal adventure 44 days ago. I want to thank the people on board, who all generously shared their knowledge with me, the methods and preliminary results of their scientific research projects. To those back at home for their support, and to those land based who read our daily blogs seeking with curiosity the discoveries that are made.

This expedition has been a learning experience, with both scientific and human dimensions, a way of inspiring me with state-of-the-art science and tools, and the knowledgeable people on board who are contributing to deciphering the hidden biodiversity in the hadal soft sediments of the northeastern Pacific, with their dedicated work on deck and in the labs. For me, it has been like fresh air after 8 years of hard administrative work for the Mexican Ocean Science followed by 3 years of COVID restrictions that halted my own research work.

Please continue being generous and kind, wise, inclusive, and open to those of us with less access to scientific infrastructure. If we want to preserve the ocean’s deep-sea biodiversity, our common heritage, we will need your scientific support at sea, your experience and collaboration, to jointly achieve global results in the next years in this task of titans.

I thank Dr Angelika Brandt for leading the important AleutBio Expedition, and thank the scientific collaborators. I thank the captain and crew for maritime support. Thank you all for creating spaces onboard, not leaving anyone behind, embracing and providing for all different cultures, for making this a successful expedition. It has been a great opportunity to have known you all, great researchers and people of different generations, knowledge and institutions.

It will be my commitment to transmit this fascinating experience to students, to colleagues, and to inspire society. It will help open doors for future science, for creating jobs that will continue the task to unravel the unknown—the biodiversity of the deep-sea soft sediments—to make the invisible visible to others. We must find ways to communicate the importance of this AleutBio Expedition, the contributions to deep ocean biodiversity.

I thank Nature that this deep seascape and its hadal biodiversity was shared with us, through OFOS and through the many tools that helped retrieve samples to process onboard. And finally, I would like to end this blog thanking the peoples of the Aleutian Islands, whose territory we were privileged to explore.

by Elva Escobar, ICML UNAM

Matsch, Matsch, es ist Quatsch; A poem. (Only in German)