When Tanja Schollmeier was deciding what animals to study for her masters in marine, she by-passed some more obvious choices, dolphins, whales, turtles, and went straight for some of the lesser known creatures of the sea: those that dwell on the ocean floor: clams, crabs and worms. The inhabitants of the sea floor in the Arctic are amongst the least well studied, yet they form a vital source of food for walruses and whales. Understanding the lives and plight of these larger animals therefore requires knowing something about the animals that they eat. Getting samples of these odd creatures though is a messy processes. Tanja uses the Van Veen grab, which plummets to the sea floor before returning with a mouthful of mud and critters for her to investigate.

About The Author

Ben Harden

Ben is a polar oceanographer and meteorologist working at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He is also a multimedia producer making radio and video programs. On this expedition Ben will be documenting the science and life aboard the Healy in a range of mediums.

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