The earliest modern explorers included artists and photographers in their parties as an essential way to document their missions. Rich visual records capture expeditions in ways that even the most elegant words cannot. Present-day explorers continue this visual tradition aided by laptop computers, electronic cameras, videocassettes, and the Internet.
In June/July 2005, an international team of 45 scientists from the United States, Canada, China and Russia collaborated to explore the frigid depths of the Canada Basin, located in one of the deepest parts of the Arctic Ocean. Due to the Canada Basin's remote location, it was assumed that scientists could encounter never before seen life forms. This expedition was thus named "The Hidden Ocean", as well as because this part of the Arctic Ocean is covered with sea ice for most of the year and so very difficult to reach. Operating from the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy and funded by NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration, scientists examined the hidden world of life in these extreme conditions with the aid of diverse, photographic platforms and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) specially designed to operate under ice and at great depth. Such studies try to, for example, understand linkages that exist between ice, water and sea floor in such harsh environments, from the surface of the ice to the bottom of the deep sea; information that is urgently needed to build a baseline of data to evaluate the impacts of changing environmental conditions, including warming and ice melt in the Arctic over the last four decades.
Among this team was American biologist Kevin Raskoff, who in 2001 gained his Ph. D. in the department of Organism Biology, Ecology, and Evolution from the University of California, Los Angeles and 2003 acquired a post doctorate at the Fellowship Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Over the years Raskoff has been on numerous expeditions, scientific cruises and research experiences- 11 cruises of which he has been chief scientist and scientist on over 160 ROV dives.
He has traveled the far corners of the world and explored in the deepest depths of our planet waters: Raskoff has worked on projects in Arctic Sea, Monterey Bay, Hawaii, the Atlantic, Italy and Japan. “The ocean and the animals therein are a great source of mystery and excitement. To be able to go on exploratory cruises was the main reason why I got into science. While in college I took several classes on marine invertebrates and found them fascinating. Jellyfish were especially weird and cool because of their completely alien lifestyle and look. I have been working on them ever since.”
Raskoff is truly a present day explorer, who not only studies the ocean and its creatures, and evaluates his discovered information, but one who also lets us take part in his constant search and discoveries. He sets off on explorations and returns with truly stunning imagery of life forms many of us can not even imagine in our wildest fantasies, let alone have never seen before. So over the years of studies and months spent under the ocean’s surface, Kevin Raskoff has built up a stunning and truly unique body of images of underwater life: images of great beauty and fascinating color, visuals of creatures so mesmerizing in the way they are shaped that they almost seem unreal. Raskoff’s portraits of the deep unknown open up to us a world we most probably shall never get to see; a world so fascinating, it feels overwhelming, almost oppressive, yet at the same time calm, with a motion of fluid smoothness, conveying an unexpected tranquility. Just like the depths of our oceans themselves, they are fantasy and reality in one.
|1970||Born in California|
|1988–1990||Studies at Los Angeles Pierce College|
|1994||Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Department of biology, ecology and systematic biology: Fishing- and marine biology|
|2001||Ph.D from University of California, Los Angeles, Chair in organic biology, ecology, and the evolution of organisms. Dissertation: Environmental Model of the Mesopelagic Cnidarians in Monterrey Bay, California|
|2001–2003||Research grant from the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Project: Breeding and the Life Cycle of Hydrozoa and Scyphozoa|
|Since 2006||Teaching position at Monterrey Peninsula College, Monterrey, CA. Course offer: Marine biology, concepts of biology: Ecology, Behavior and Evolution, Environmental research and basic principles of biology|
several MBA books
NPR, ABC, CBS, CBC, AP news
American Museum of Natural History
and over 300 websites worldwide
Natural Science Expeditions: Lead scientist on 11 expeditions; participating scientist on over 160 ROV (Remote-operated underwater vehicle) dives in the following locations:
Arctic sea: 2002 and 2005, study of deep-sea zooplankton, financed by the NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce)
Monterrey Bay: 1997–2005, ROV dives with the MBARI (Monterrey Bay Aquarium Research Institute), study of deep sea zooplankton, SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) dives
Hawaii: 2001, ROV dive, deep sea zooplankton, SCUBA dives on behalf of MBARI
Atlantic: 2001, research with the HBOI Johnson-Sea-Link diving gear, SCUBA dives
Italy: 2000, collection and breeding of tidal hydrozoa sponsored by the NSF (National Science Foundation, USA)
Japan: 1999, JAMSTEC ROV dive in Mariana Trench
Catalina Island, California: 1996–97, SCUBA research of tides
Bodega Marine Laboratory, California: 1996, extraction of genetic samples from jelly fish populations
Republic of Palau: 1995, investigation of salt water lakes