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Bruce Strickrott

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Bruce Strickrott
Bruce Strickrott Mystic.jpg Bruce Strickrott Mystic.jpg
BornWilliam "Bruce" Strickrott
(1964-12-18) December 18, 1964 (age 59)
Takoma Park, MD, U.S.
🎓 Alma materFlorida Atlantic University
Boca Raton, FL
💼 Occupation
👔 EmployerWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA
❤️ Partner(s)Genai Corban
👶 Children2
🥚 TwitterTwitter=
label65 = 👍 Facebook

Bruce Strickrott (born December 18, 1964) is an American Ocean Engineer, U.S. Navy Deep Submergence Vehicle Pilot and deep sea explorer. He is the Chief Pilot and program manager of the DSV Alvin Group at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Mr. Strickrott is an honorably discharged U.S. Navy veteran whose great uncle, Robert Henry Barringer, was aboard the submarine USS Bullhead (SS-332), the last United States Navy vessel sunk by enemy action during World War II, likely on the same day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, 6 August, 1945. He is a maternal descendant of notable English whaler, Tristram Coffin, known for the purchase of Nantucket Island in 1659.

Early life[edit]

Bruce lived in suburban Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C., until his family moved to upstate New York in 1972. At an early age he developed a fascination for adventure, space travel, advanced technologies, and extreme vehicles. Bruce was a devoted follower of NASA and the Apollo missions to the moon, which inspired his interest in physics and astronomy. His exposure to deep sea science and exploration began with the National Geographic magazine articles documenting the discovery of deep sea hydrothermal vents and Dr. Robert Ballard's dives to the RMS Titanic in Alvin. His love of science was further inspired by Dr. Carl Sagan's Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. As a young boy Bruce was an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy novels including Jules Verne's 1870 novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. In the summer of 1977, he traveled with his mother and older brother to visit his American father in Tehran, Iran, who was leading an effort to modernize Iran's banking systems. The family was considering a move to Tehran, but the Iranian Revolution of 1978 altered their plans, and ultimately Bruce graduated from Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, New York in June of 1982.

Military service[edit]

Mr. Strickrott enlisted in the U.S. Navy in May, 1986 and after completing recruit training in San Diego, California, he was transferred to Naval Station Great Lakes where he qualified as a Fire Control technician. During six years of active duty he served on two Belknap-class guided-missile cruisers, the USS Horne (CG-30) and the USS Fox (CG-33). His tour of duty included two deployments to the Persian Gulf during Operations Earnest Will (aboard the USS Horne) and Operations Desert Shield / Desert Storm (aboard the USS Fox). Bruce was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in May 1992 as a Petty Officer First Class (E-6).

Education[edit]

Bruce Strickrott at The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Following Bruce’s service in the U.S. Navy, he attended Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton, Florida studying Ocean Engineering. Bruce graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering and was subsequently inducted into the Tau Beta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi national honor societies. While at FAU he worked as a SCUBA diver aboard the R/V Oceaneer IV, performing ocean engineering projects and training students on technical diving exercises. Bruce holds a private airplane pilot's license for both land and seaplanes.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)[edit]

September 1996 Bruce joined the DSV Alvin Group at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as an ocean engineer and Alvin Pilot in Training (PIT)..[1] In December 1999 he officially qualified as a U.S. Navy Deep Submergence Pilot, becoming the 56th civilian to earn the U.S. Navy Deep Submergence Officer Insignia[2].[3][4][5]. As of April 2021 Bruce has completed a total of 376 dives in Alvin, with 348 dives acting as Pilot-in-Command of the submersible.[6][7]

Achievements[edit]

Bruce Strickrott with DSV Alvin personnel sphere

Bruce has sailed on over 125 scientific research expeditions aboard the R/V Atlantis (AGOR-25) as an Alvin pilot and Expedition Leader.[8]. He piloted Alvin on a number of the dives used to film Volcanoes of the Deep Sea, shot during multiple expeditions from 1999 to 2002.[9]Bruce has participated in six major overhauls of DSV Alvin, including the 2011-2012 major upgrade to the submersible at WHOI that implemented the first major systems improvements for dives to 6,500 meters (21,326 feet).[10][11] In March 2020, Bruce returned to WHOI to lead the team completing DSV Alvin's conversion for dives to 6,500 meters, with initial deep-water dives scheduled for September 2021 in the Puerto Rico Trench and Cayman Trough.[12][13][14]

Notable Expeditions[edit]

During his career as an Alvin Pilot, Bruce has visited many of Earth's extreme deep sea environments:
Atlantic Ocean: New England Seamounts[15][16], Atlantis Massif[17][18], Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Atlantic Coast[19], Blake Ridge[20], George's Bank[21]
Pacific Ocean: Guaymas Basin[22], East Pacific Rise[23], Galapagos Rift[24][25][26][27], Davidson Seamount[28], Axial Seamount[29][30],
Juan de Fuca Ridge[31], Gulf of Alaska[32][33], Pito Deep[34], Costa Rica margins[35][36], Dorado Outcrop[37][38][39]
Gulf of Mexico: Hydrocarbon Seeps[40][41], Deepwater Horizon oil spill[42][43]

Notable Dives[edit]

It's the simple, subtle things out here that really magnify the whole experience. The days have different gifts if you’re just willing to look for them. Random visits by dolphins or whales, the occasional water spout or wayward flying fish, the color of the water at 60 meters on ascent, the thousands of bioluminescent critters that escort us to the bottom, the chance to see a new vent site or never before seen seascape, to be an active participant in scientific exploration without all those long years pursuing a PhD, are just a few of the regular day to day events that have made this the experience of a lifetime.

Bruce Strickrott, from The View from the Best Seat in the House (2003)[44]

Bruce piloted Alvin during the first dives to the Lost City Hydrothermal Field[45][46] a new form of deep sea vent discovered with Alvin and ROV Argo II, in December 2000, and a follow on expedition to the Lost City site in 2003.

In August 2004, during an Alvin dive series along the Gulf of Alaska seamounts, Bruce collected a very large sample of a new species of bamboo coral[47][48]. The large coral is now displayed in the Smithsonian Institution Sant Ocean Hall[49]

In March 2005, during Alvin dive number 4089 along the southern East Pacific Rise, Bruce captured a new species of deep sea hagfish, the first to be discovered at a Hydrothermal vent. The new species of hagfish was named Eptatretus strickrotti, "Strickrott's Hagfish", in recognition of his piloting and sampling expertise.[50][51][52] Additional dives during the expedition discovered a new biological family of Crustacean, Kiwa hirsuta, the "Yeti Crab"[53]. A second species of Yeti Crab, Kiwa puravida, was discovered with Alvin in 2006 and described in 2011.[54]

On DSV Alvin dive 4196 during the Expedition to the Deep Slope in the Gulf of Mexico, a new species of octopus was discovered in the mixing layer of a deep sea brine pool.[55]

In August 2018, during the Project Deep Search Alvin dive series, Bruce and two scientific observers discovered a previously unknown extensive deep sea coral reef off the coast of South Carolina.[56][57][58]

SS El Faro[edit]

Bruce Strickrott and DSV Alvin
Red octopus clinging to Alvin
photo by Bruce Strickrott

In April 2016 Bruce was a member of the WHOI team that collaborated with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to survey the wreckage of the SS El Faro, after its sinking during Hurricane Joaquin in the Bahamas. The team aboard the R/V Atlantis successfully located the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) and completed an extensive survey of the lost vessel and surrounding debris field. The search utilized two deep sea vehicles, the AUV "Sentry" and a tethered ROV called the "Observation Vehicle". The successful recovery of the VDR by the U.S. Navy enabled the NTSB to obtain the full transcript of the El Faro's final hours.[59][60] At the conclusion of the mission, the search team assembled on the bow of the R/V Atlantis to ring the ship's bell thirty-three times to honor the mariners who perished in the disaster.

Publications[edit]

  • The Deep Submergence Vehicle Alvin, an Advanced Platform for Deep Sea Observation and Research[61]

Film[edit]

Video[edit]

Podcasts[edit]

  • Time to Eat the Dogs - Human Exploration in the Deep Sea[62]
  • Ask a Biologist - Exploring the Dark Side of the Earth[63][64]
  • Listen In - The Creepy, Unbelievably Inspiring World of Deep Sea Parasites[65]
  • Short Wave - A Quick Dive into How Submarines Work[66]

References[edit]

  1. Stevens, Jane. "Expedition's End". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  2. Daley, Beth. "He keeps a discerning eye on the ocean floor". boston.com. The Boston Globe. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  3. Nevala, Amy. "Alvin's pilots, a tight knit group with the 'right stuff' to guide a submersible on the seafloor". WHOI.edu/oceanus. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  4. Nevala, Amy. "Ever get scared in the sub?". whoi.edu/oceanus. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  5. Etnoyer, Peter (5 January 2007). "Alvin has pilots?". Deep Sea News. Deep Sea News. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  6. "Alvin Dive Log and Metadata". Alvin Dive Log and Metadata. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  7. "Humans into the deep ocean: from imagination to reality". The Explorers Club.org. The Explorers Club. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  8. Driscoll, Sean. "Famed submersible Alvin returns to WHOI". Cape Cod Time.com. Cape Cod Times. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  9. Baskin, Ellen (10 September 2003). "High-tech film shows little known world". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  10. Lippsett, Lonny. "Rebuilding Alvin: Bruce Strickrott". WHOI.edu/oceanus. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  11. Lippsett, Lonny. "Rebuilding Alvin: Humphris & Strickrott". WHOI.edu/oceanus. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  12. Chase, Kelly. "A Day in the Life: Lessons on small space living from a submarine pilot". Cape Cod and the Islands Magazine. Coastal Lifestyle. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  13. Oberhaus, Daniel. "The Oldest Crewed Deep Sea Submersible Just Got a Big Makeover". Wired. Condé Nast Publications. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  14. Piecuch, Hannah. "Overhaul to take Alvin to greater exteremes". WHOI.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  15. "Dive and Discover: Expedition 7". divediscover.whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  16. "Ocean Explorer: Mountains in the Sea". oceanexplorer.noaa.gov. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  17. "2000 Marvel Cruise AT3-60". lostcity.washington.edu. University of Washington. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  18. "2003 Lost City NSF Expedition". lostcity.washington.edu. University of Washington. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  19. "Deep Search 2018". oceanexplorer.noaa.gov. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  20. "Ocean Explorer: Windows to the Deep". oceanexplorer.noaa.gov. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  21. "Ocean Explorer, Deep East Exploration 2001". oceanexplorer.noaa.gov. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  22. "Dive and Discover: Expedition 1". divediscover.whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  23. "Dive and Discover: Expedition 2". divediscover.whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  24. "Dive and Discover: Expedition 6". divediscover.whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  25. "Dive and Discover: Expedition 9". divediscover.whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  26. "Ocean Explorer: Galapagos Rift 2002". oceanexplorer.noaa.gov. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  27. "Ocean Explorer: Galapagos Rift 2005". oceanexplorer.noaa.gov. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  28. "Alvin Submarine Discovers More Octopuses at "Octopus Garden"". sanctuarysimon.org. Sanctuary Simon.org. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  29. Holden, James. "AT15-36 Cruise Report". marine-geo.org. Marine Geo.org. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  30. "Cruise Planning synopsis: At15-67". whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  31. "Dive and Discover: Expedition 8". divediscover.whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  32. "Ocean Explorer: Gulf of Alaska 2004". oceanexplorer.noaa.gov. National Oceanic and Atmospheric administration. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  33. "Ocean Explorer, Exploring Alaska's Seamounts". oceanexplorer.noaa.gov. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  34. "Pito Deep Expedition". nicholas.duke.edu. Duke University. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  35. "2018 Costa Rica Margins". sites.temple.edu. Temple University. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  36. "2017 ROC Hits". sites.temple.edu. Temple University. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  37. "Dorado Outcrop 2014 Expedition" (PDF). whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  38. "Giant group of octopus moms discovered in the deep sea". nsf.gov. National Science Foundation. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  39. Ellis, Lauren. "TechKnow - Exploring the other final frontier". america.aljazeera.com. Al Jazeera. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  40. "Ocean Explorer: Expedition to the Deep Slope 2006". oceanexplorer.noaa.gov. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  41. "2014 Acid Horizon". sites.temple.edu. Temple University. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  42. "Dive and Discover: Expedition 13". divediscover.com. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  43. "Alvin and Sentry Explore the Deep Gulf". ww2.whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  44. Strickrott, Bruce. "The View from the Best Seat in the House". www.lostcity.washington.edu. University of Washington. Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  45. "A Lost 'City' of the Deep Reveals Unexpected Forms". today.duke.edu. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  46. Rivizzigno, Pete; Lebon, Geoff T.; Roe, Kevin K.; Schrenk, Matthew O.; Olson, Eric J.; Lilley, Marvin D.; Butterfield, David A.; Früh-Green, Gretchen L.; Blackman, Donna K. (July 2001). "An off-axis hydrothermal vent field near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at 30° N". Nature. 412 (6843): 145–149. Bibcode:2001Natur.412..145K. doi:10.1038/35084000. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 11449263. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help)
  47. Etnoyer, Peter. "A new species of Isidella bamboo coral (Octocorallia: Alcyonacea: Isididae) from northeast Pacific Seamounts". researchgate.net. Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  48. Shapiro, Aurelie. "What do you do if you see bamboo?". NOAA Ocean Explorer. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  49. Etnoyer, Peter (30 September 2008). "New hall of the oceans at the Smithsonian". Deep Sea News. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  50. Nevala, Amy. "Would a Hagfish By Any Other Name Smell as Sweet". Would a Hagfish By Any Other Name Smell as Sweet. whoi.edu/oceanus. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  51. Gouveia, Aaron. "Hagfish". Cape Cod Times.com. Cape Cod Times. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  52. Levenson, Michael (19 February 2007). "Hagfish named after discoverer". Boston.com. Boston Globe. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  53. "Easter Microplate Expedition March 12–April 6, 2005". Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.
  54. {{cite journal |author=Andrew R. Thurber, William J. Jones & Kareen Schnabel |year=2011 |title=Dancing for food in the deep sea: bacterial farming by a new species of yeti crab |journal=PLOS ONE |volume=6 |issue=11 |page=e26243 |doi=10.1371/journal.pone.0026243 |pmid=22140426 |pmc=3227565|bibcode=2011PLoSO...626243T |
  55. Oliver, Johnathan. "New species found in gulf of mexico". houmatoday.com. Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  56. "Alvin makes an exciting coral discovery". Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  57. Freeman, David. "Huge deep-sea coral reef discovered off the South Carolina coast". NBC new.com. NBC News. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  58. Landrum, Lauren (28 August 2018). "Scientists discover hidden deep-sea coral reef South Carolina coast". cnn.com. CNN. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  59. Fishell, Darren. "Read the full El Faro trasncript". bangordailynew.com. Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  60. "WHOI Technology Used in Locating El Faro Data Recorder". WHOI.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  61. Strickrott, Bruce (January 2017). "The Deep Submergence Vehicle Alvin, An Advanced Platform for Deep Sea Observation and Research". The Journal of Ocean Technology. 12 (1): 34–44.
  62. Time to Eat the Dogs - Human Exploration of the Deep Sea
  63. ASU Ask a Biologist - Exploring the Dark Side of the Earth
  64. Kasilek, Charles. "Ask a biologist vol 101" (PDF). askabiologist.asu.edu. Arizona State University. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  65. WHOI Listen In - The creepy, unbelievably inspiring world of deep sea parasites
  66. NPR Shortwave - A quick dive into how submarines work

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]


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