Mail Buoy

January 23 responses:

What is your favorite sea creature?

Ms. Sheild's classes at Clarke Middle School, Lexington, Mass.

Dear Madeline,

I would say my favorite sea creature is the giant squid. I’m a big fan of giant squids—they’re sort of mythological beasts. Whenever there are newspaper articles or articles online, I always save them to read them later. To me, they seem almost like Bigfoot, except that there’s actually proof that they’re out there. Scientists have found whales with sucker marks on them that look like they must have come from a giant squid. Unfortunately for me, we’ve never done any research on giant squid here on the Atlantis.

Ed “Catfish” Popowitz
Bosun, R/V Atlantis


Dear Madeline,

My favorite sea creature is the hermit crab! Mostly because when I was little, I would go tide-pooling and would pull a few of them out to line them up on the rocks and "race" them. My mom and I would put bets on which ones would get off the rock and back in the water the fastest.

Kerry McCulloch




Fantastic website!  Thanks for sharing your research. Students were wondering why the increase in boiling temperature of water as depth increases, is not a uniform or consistent change from the surface to the bottom.  Can you help us?

Jim Carlson
7th grade Science
Washington Jr. High School, Manitowoc, Wis.

Hi, Jim,
Great observation! As a liquid boils, its molecules begin to move in a more and more chaotic manner. Once they have enough energy, they change phases, and become vapor or gas (steam, in the case of water). As you mentioned, the amount of energy necessary to get to that phase change is non-uniform. The rate changes with increasing pressure (on the graph below, you can see that the line is a smooth curve). Although the amount of energy doesn’t increase linearly, it does increase at a rate we can calculate. Exactly why it’s a smooth curve, however, is a tricky question that involves a deep understanding of thermodynamics. There are entire graduate-level courses taught on that subject!

Jeff Seewald

boiling point graph

[P.S. from the editor—Hello, Manitowoc! I visited there once, years ago. Camped on a hill overlooking the lake. A kind man in a pickup truck drove through and gave all the campers home-grown tomatoes. They were delicious!]