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UD scientists assist Alvin test

March 13, 2014-- Plunging into the depths of the ocean in the research submersible Alvin is like descending into another world. The inside of the sub is very dim, letting occupants’ eyes adjust to darkness as daylight fades away.

Bioluminescent fish and sea jellies flash their bluish lights outside the portholes. Scientists prepare their sampling equipment as the pilot maneuvers to the research site and then turns on the vehicle’s headlights to get to work.

“It’s one of the most intense days of science,” said George Luther, Maxwell P. and Mildred H. Harrington Professor of Marine Studies in the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE). “You’re working the whole time, and you lose track of time a little bit. It’s emotionally and physically exhausting.”

Luther has made 14 trips deep beneath the sea in the famous sub. This month, he and other CEOE researchers will be among the 28-person scientific team testing the completely rebuilt Alvin, which has undergone a significant overhaul.