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Harbor Branch Web Developers Team With ABC News To Bring Ocean Adventure To A Computer Near You

FT. PIERCE, FL - A young researcher floats her tiny boat onto the surface of a tropical lagoon where hundreds of sharks have gathered. Soon, she will have to reach in and grab one.

Enveloped in cold and darkness, protected from deadly pressure by an acrylic sphere, a submersible crew sits three thousand feet beneath the waves. Suddenly, a bizarre, glowing creature emerges from the shadows and shows itself to the human visitors from above - it is a new species, never before seen by man. The skilled pilot gently maneuvers a robot arm to collect the delicate organism.

Thousands of miles from home, a research ship pitches in stormy seas. One tenacious scientist remains in the on-board laboratory. He has found a chemical in a deep-sea sponge that may save thousands of lives.

Episodes like these may seem like excerpts from adventure novels, but they are happening every day in the real lives of marine scientists. Two local Web developers, captivated by these breathtaking stories of discovery, have launched a new website that will bring ocean science adventures to every desktop.

"We hear remarkable stories every day." says Mary Clark, Media Lab Director at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. "Working at Harbor Branch, we almost take it for granted that we are surrounded by people who are pioneers of inner space. They make a living studying deep-sea vents, captaining sophisticated research ships and chasing global currents. It's a very cool thing to have inside, instant access to all of these tales of adventure and high caliber marine science ... wanting to document and share these exclusive stories is what got me thinking about establishing the new website."

Clark took her ideas to Sean Kelley, Harbor Branch webmaster. "At the time, I was writing a web article about a well-known shark researcher, Samuel Gruber. He was sending me all of these outlandish photos of his research assistants reaching into the water and snatching up baby
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Contact: Susan J. Hanson
hanson@hboi.edu
561-465-2400 x 206
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
8-Mar-1999


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