Deep Sea Wonders of the Caribbean

an educational video series and book

NIHERST in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine and the Caribbean Council for Science and Technology (CCST) , will be undertaking a 12-month project which aims to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of the deep sea environment in the region, through the introduction and distribution of an educational video series and captioned photo book detailing this previously unexplored natural feature.

Little about the deep-sea environment has been known until just over a century ago. In 2013 and 2014, Dr. Judith F. Gobin, Lecturer, Department of Life Sciences, UWI, St. Augustine, was invited on board the Exploration Vessel (EV) Nautilus, alongside an international team of scientists. Four new deep-sea cold seeps 130 kilometres off the east coast of Trinidad, surrounded by a multitude and variety of sea life were discovered at a depth of 1200 metres. The United States Geological Survey estimates that the total amount of carbon locked away inside of methane hydrates of the cold seeps could be twice as much as the amount that exists in all the world's known fossil fuels.

Prior to this, limited information on the deep sea environment for the Caribbean existed. For Trinidad and Tobago, this was the first high quality videography and photography of extensive areas at depths greater than 2,100 metres. Inspired by the wealth of new information, research potential and a large quantity of never-before-seen footage and photos, Dr. Gobin decided to explore this collaborative public education opportunity to develop a five (5) part video documentary series and a captioned photo book on the Deep Sea Wonders of the Caribbean.The five (5) part documentary series will comprise the following segments:

  • The Exploration Vessel Nautilus’s expedition to Trinidad and Grenada:

    An overview of the expedition, facilities of the ship, role of the crew members, types of research conducted, the value of the expedition and deep sea resources to persons within the region and mitigation/conservation measures for potential threats.

  • The Deep Sea Environment:

    A detailed look into the scientific non-biotic and biotic components of the deep sea - the physical conditions including the substrates and geology and the biodiversity and its adaptation to the deep sea environment.

  • Trinidad’s Deep Sea Communities:

    A detailed look into the scientific non-biotic and biotic components of the deep sea - the physical conditions including the substrates and geology and the biodiversity and its adaptation to the deep sea environment.

  • Grenada’s Deep Sea Communities:

    A look into the unique non-biotic and biotic deep sea environment off the coast of Grenada - its natural features including its biodiversity, with particular reference to the Kick ‘em Jenny submarine volcano; the value of these deep sea resources to the region and mitigation/conservation measures for potential threats specific to Grenada.

  • Careers of a Deep Sea Expedition:

    Profiling of the traditional as well as new and emerging career fields that are required to undertake a deep sea expedition, including present-day scientific research methodologies/technologies and other tasks involved in executing a successful expedition.

The captioned photo book, will contain captioned/annotated imagery of components within the deep sea environment. Both resources will be made available to the region’s general public. These resources are scheduled for completion in February 2018 and will be revealed at an official media launch.

See the full Project Brief for more information.

From left to right: Dr. Judith Gobin, Marine Biologist at UWI and Lead Scientist; Mr. Anthony Shaw, Insurance Operations at Sagicor Life Inc; Mr. Lutz H. Jorgens, Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany in Port of Spain (Past); Ms. Sylvia Lalla, President (Ag.) at NIHERST; Ms. Adele Rose, Foundation Manager at Massy Foundation; Ms. Giselle Dinzey, Registrar (Ag.) at NIHERST; Dr. Indar Ramnarine, Deputy Principal at UWI; and Mr. Leslie Bowrin, External Relations Advisor at Shell Trinidad and Tobago Ltd.

On Friday 3rd January, 2017, four (4) sponsors signed sponsorship agreements with the National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (NIHERST) for the Deep Sea Wonders of the Caribbean project – an educational video series and book. Diamond Sponsor, Shell Trinidad and Tobago Limited, Platinum Sponsor, the German Embassy Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, along with Green Sponsors the Massy Foundation and Sagicor Life Inc. have come on board for this unique regional project.