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Submarines, shipwrecks, octopi oh my! Oceanographer gives long-form TED talk

By Adam Cook

Staff Writer

From sea creatures to ship wrecks, the ocean embraces so much of the Earth it is typical for a new discovery to be made with each dive oceanographers take.

Dr. David Gallo, the director of special projects at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, known for his popular TED presentation Underwater Astonishments, came to UNH on Wednesday, Oct. 28, to deliver a longer version of his TED talk.

The attendees entered the Strafford Room in UNH’s Memorial Union Building to a welcoming picture of earth as Gallo stood up to the microphone.

“I had ADD before I got my Ph.D.,” jokes Gallo as he began his speech.

Gallo grew up in New York, and says he always knew he wanted to be a scientist. He recalled a time from when he was younger when he and some friends built a raft that was so heavy they couldn’t get it to the water.

“The idea of exploration really got into my brain,” Gallo said.

Gallo attended the University of New York Albany to complete both Bachelor and Master of Science degrees. He then went on to the University of Rhode Island to complete his doctorate in oceanography.

“I found it was okay to ask questions,” Gallo said when talking about finding his passion. “I found a home with other curious people.”

Gallo then dove into his speech by sharing footage from different dives that he has done with his team. He began with showing pictures of a submarine on the deck of a ship that was being prepared to descend into the ocean.

“We find something new every time we go under,” Gallo said.

The speech then touched upon some of the animals that are usually seen during the dives such as octopi and squid. Gallo showed footage of these creatures swim by as they found interest or showed fear in the submarine that Gallo’s team had been in.

“This is where Jack was king of the world,” Gallo said as he showed footage of the Titanic.

Gallo said that the area outside of the Titanic is mapped out pretty well thanks to him and his colleagues. He showed photographs of the ship at the bottom of the sea as well as some artifacts that sank to the bottom of the sea.

The final aspect that Gallo touched upon was the mid Atlantic ridge, a large mountain chain underwater. He had footage of the hot water that shoots up from some of the mountains underwater. This water gives many creatures a place to live with conditions that are unlike anything we are familiar with.

As the speech concluded, Gallo opened up the floor for audience members to ask questions about anything that had to do with his findings and the ocean in general.

“We want you to have the same experience we do when we go to the bottom,” Gallo said as the question and answer session concluded.

“I was really excited for this presentation,” Genna String, a senior said. “He did a good job presenting the information.”

In the upcoming week, Gallo is retiring from his position at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, but he and his team’s findings and discoveries will leave an impact on future findings underwater.

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