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25 June 2009

© Franklin J. Viola, Viola Photography and Viola Photo Solutions. 2008  All Rights Reserved.

Don Harper collecting Beggiatoa Bacteria / Dead Zone

Long before all the photo assignments to exotic tropics,
I logged numerous descents offshore of Freeport, TX.

A college undergrad in the late 70's seeking Calypso adventure,
I volunteered each month to jump off a 'live' boat
holding a rope attached to 4 stainless sediment samplers.

Within seconds my 'buddy' and I would slam into the mud,
60 feet deep where visibility was measured in millimeters.
Complete our collection, 'ride' up a boat ladder
crashing down like a guillotine in the rocking sea,
collect our fins & 'jump' again ... four bounce dives in an hour.

I joined Dr 'Benthos' Harper again 15 years after graduation
to document & collect samples in the
Dead Zone
Not only was the water dark, it was completely void of oxygen.
Everything dead except Beggiatoa Bacteria that thrives in hypoxia.

All of that 'bottom time' which today would freak OSHA out,
shaped my sub-aquatic resume and respect for the sea.

Dr Harper retired from Texas A&M Galveston & moved back to his roots in Pennsylvania. Yet, he continues to aid students (past & present) by publishing job listings in marine biology and oceanography.

The Nature Conservancy in Honolulu called this evening.

I accepted the position of
Palmyra Atoll Field Station Manager

Thanks Don!


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