The Mysterious Meromictic Lakes of New York

"Men really do need sea-monsters in their personal oceans"
-John Steinbeck, The Log from the Sea of Cortez

Meromictic lakes are very small and surprisingly deep, preventing seasonal mixing of three chemically distinct layers of water. The top layer functions normally, but the bottom is an oxygen depleted environment in which few organisms can survive. This is a rare but naturally occurring phenomenon. I am fascinated by the mysteries hidden by these seemingly mundane little lakes, and wonder what creatures might have evolved to live in their isolated, anoxic depths. To explore the meromictic lakes, I built an open source submersible Remotely Operated Vehicle (OpenROV).

My adventures with the ROV led to two major projects: a 48 inch wide, 195 foot long (60 meters, the depth of Fayetteville Green Lake) drawing of a journey from the surface to the bottom of a meromictic lake, and a fantasy ROV in the form of an 8 foot long animatronic fish. The drawing represents the video footage taken by the fantasy fish ROV. These two pieces merge facts from scientific journal articles, my own field research, and imagined creatures, utilizing the conventions of scientific illustration.

Video

The Mysterious Meromictic Lakes of New York in Five Minutes
The MB2000 Submersible
Seven minutes in a meromictic lake