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2011 Annual Science Report

Arizona State University Reporting  |  SEP 2010 – AUG 2011

EPO Activity: EPO Informal Education, Task 1B: Virtual Field Trip to Shark Bay, Western Australia

Project Progress

In addition to work on the Flinders Virtual Field Trip (VFT), we started work on a new VFT to Shark Bay, Western Australia during the reporting period.

Shark Bay, Western Australia
For two weeks in June 2011, teams from ASU, MIT, the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, University of Connecticut, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Curtin University (Australia) visited sites within the Shark Bay World Heritage Area in Western Australia. A VFT team led by Mr. Bruce (ASU) focused on the collection of imagery and video footage needed to develop a new Shark Bay VFT (Figure 1), while a second science team lead by researchers from MIT and Woods Hole collected specimens of living stromatolites for a number of research projects (Figures 2-3). The video and imagery has been used to create a new Shark Bay VFT protoype that is being tested in Dr. Ariel Anbar’s “Habitable Worlds” undergraduate class at ASU.

Figure 1: Shark Bay Virtual Field Trip

Figure 1: Shark Bay Virtual Field Trip.ASU staff member and graduate student, Geoffrey Bruce collecting underwater video of living stromatolites at Hamlin Pool Telegraph Station in Shark Bay, Western Australia in June 2011.

Figure 2: Shark Bay Virtual Field Trip. ​Dr. Ariel Anbar and ASU staff member, Lev Horodyskyj (foreground) collecting videos and still images of living stromatolites at Carbla Beach, Shark Bay, Western Australia. Scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MIT, University of Connecticut, and Curtin University (Australia) sampled living stromatolites from different zones at several locations.

Figure 3: Shark Bay Stromatolites. ​Samples of living stromatolites collected at Carbla Beach in Shark Bay by Dr. Roger Summons from MIT.