On the floor of the sea: watch while biologists search for rare white abalone

October 14, 1999-- This October, the Abalone Restoration Consortium, a group of university, government and private biologists, will set out in a two-person submersible to search the sea floor around the Channel Islands National Park for white abalone, a rare marine snail and the first marine invertebrate requested for listing as endangered. If their forays are successful in finding any of these vanishing creatures, the scientists will attempt to develop a captive breeding program similar to what has been used to replenish imperiled terrestrial species. At present, only one white abalone is in captivity; that abalone, nicknamed Abigail before its sex was determined, is a male.

When: October 19, 1999. Must register in advance for a time slot. Time choices:

  • 8:30 a.m., returning to Catalina Island (Avalon) approximately 11 a.m.
  • 11 a.m., returning back to Catalina Island approximately 2:30 p.m.
  • 2:30 p.m., returning back to Catalina Island around 6 p.m.

What: Scientists will be available for interviews on the research vessel, reached by a short water-taxi ride. Researchers will be making hour-long trips in a submersible to the sea floor to search for and map remaining white abalones. On board the ship, scientists involved in this federal, state, local and nongovernmental effort will be available for interviews.

Note to news editors: B-roll available.

Why: An opportunity to see, first-hand, the beginning of this effort to restore the white abalone population to California's marine environment and to interview the primary researchers involved in this effort to find, map and begin a captive-breeding population of these rare abalone. Scientists manning the submersible will bring video back up to the research vessel to view and to record data on habitat type, presence of abalone and associated animals and abalone food availability so th

Contact: Catherine Haecker
United States Geological Survey

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