ROVing Great Lakes Shipwrecks

For October 30, 2019                Please share this with your friends & neighbors.
Hi WN@TL Fans,
As television production, especially cameras and lighting, became more sophisticated in the late 1950’s and into the 60’s, you-are-there series like Sea Hunt with Lloyd Bridges and documentaries like The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau helped create a new wave of interest in underwater exploration.  These followed up on the magnificent crest created a century earlier by Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”  
Kids my age who would struggle to translate laser into “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation” could tell you in a heartbeat that scuba divers could swim below for a long time because they had a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus strapped to their backs. We knew not all narcosis was from narcotics, that the bends could kill you, and that helium mixed in your tank made you sound like you were huffing shelium.
All these adventures were happening in oceans far from the Midwest. Diving was decorated with a salty spindrift of the exotic, often the tropic, always the dangerous.  No diver ever went deep without a brawny knife belted to their chest.
Here in the humble yet buoyant Midwest, with our Great Lakes and our fresh water, hardy souls slipped beneath the waves or the lily pads to explore our limnological limits.  Among the most magnetic destinations for divers have been the divers shipwrecks strewn in the shallows and in the deeps, especially in Lakes Superior and Michigan.
Some wrecks rest so deep that the cold and the pressure limit the ease, speed and safety of exploration by divers.  Fresh water or salt, if you dive deep you still have to worry about the bends and you still have to schedule precious time below to decompress during your slow ascent to the surface. 
Today maritime archeologists can deploy another wave of technology.   Remotely operated underwater vehicles equipped with cameras, lights, motors, propellors or thrusters — and sometimes with mechanical arms and hands — work for hours where divers could spend but minutes.  As Ariel would tell, it’s a whole new world.
This week (October 30we rove into the freshwater abysses of Superior & Michigan as Caitlin Zant, maritime archeologist with the Wisconsin Historical Society, speaks on “Exploring the Deep: Investigating Three New Great-Lakes Shipwrecks with ROVs.”
Here’s how she describes her presentation:
Using prototype technology, archaeologists and ROV pilots team up to investigate three of the newest and deepest shipwreck discoveries in the Great Lakes. See footage from the converted car ferry Harriet B. in 650 feet of water off Two Harbors, Minnesota — the deepest archaeological survey of a shipwreck on the Great Lakes, the schooner Antelope located in 310 feet of water off Michigan Island, Wisconsin, and dive deep inside the car-filled hold of the steamer Senator in 450 feet of water off Port Washington, Wisconsin.
About the Speaker
Caitlin Zant joined the Wisconsin Historical Society as a Maritime Archaeologist 4.5 years ago, after attending the Maritime Studies Program at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina for graduate school. In her six years of working as a maritime archaeologist, Caitlin has been involved with over 35 archaeological projects, and has assisted in nominating 20 shipwrecks to the National and State Register of Historic Places. 
Caitlin has primarily focused her studies on the maritime history of the Great Lakes, specifically within Wisconsin. Prior to becoming a Maritime Archaeologist, Caitlin studied History and Geography at Carthage, graduating in 2012.
Next week (November 6 
Orchids enchant us with the protean range of their shape-shifting flowers.  They also baffle botanists trying to parse their pedigrees.  Next week Tom Givnish of Botany returns to share with us a new map of the origins and diversifications of the orchids.
Here’s how he describes his talk:
“Orchids are the most diverse family of angiosperms, with more species than mammals, birds, and reptiles combined. Many ideas have been advanced to account for their extraordinary diversity, but they have – until quite recently – been impossible to test because we lacked a good phylogeny (family tree) for the orchids. 
“My colleagues and I have now developed a well-resolved phylogeny for the orchids, based on large numbers of chloroplast genes, and I will show how we can use this phylogeny to identify the age and place of origin of the orchids, assess the role of different orchid traits in driving high rates of speciation, and reconstruct the geographic spread of orchids across the planet. 
“I will also describe some of the remarkable aspects of the ecology of this endlessly fascinating group that have recently come to light, mention some of the notable aspects of orchid diversity in Wisconsin, and sketch some interesting scientific and conservation issues that should be explored in the future.”
Hope to see you soon at Wednesday Nite @ The Lab.

Thanks again!
Tom Zinnen
Biotechnology Center & Division of Extension