Microcosm Heads to Alaska this June

This summer the adventure into the oceanic microscopic universe continues as filmmaker, marine biologist, and Roosevelt University SUST Adjunct Professor Michele Hoffman Trotter and her colleagues set out for Alaska on the exciting field expedition yet for her upcoming documentary Microcosm. Without further ado, we’ll let Michele tell you about this remarkable new chapter in the Microcosm story in her own words.

Healy research vessel

The USGS Healy research vessel (photo: USGS)

After three years of intense research, filming, fundraising, and lab/field research, the film project Microcosm will officially transition into production during a six-week research cruise in the Arctic circle at the invitation of University of Alaska.  The Microcosm crew will join scientists from the University of Alaska and other research institutions on board the USGS Healy, a state of the art Coast Guard vessel with 4,000 square feet of lab space and even a gym!

SUST prof Michele Hoffman Trotter in her natural element: filming underwater!

SUST prof Michele Hoffman Trotter in her natural element: filming underwater!

The purpose of the cruise is to perform a biodiversity assessment and chronicle as many species as possible that inhabit the Canada basin. Only when we chronicle the residents of these remote places can we begin to understand how ocean communities are changing or in science lingo, assess changing baselines.

As ice cover continues to retreat, new areas open up to research potential and it is likely that there will be exciting discoveries this summer. Michele and her team are particularly interested in microscopic life, and are focused on demonstrating how it fuels the economy of the entire ocean food web.

Under the sea . . .

Under the sea . . .

The official invitation to join the expedition came in February, leaving Hoffman Trotter a short window in which to find BIG funding.  A combination of crowd sourced money from a GoFundMe campaign, bake sales (yes, bake sales, as in cupcakes!), and last minute sponsorship provided just enough to get the three person team the resources needed to make the expedition work. Canon USA, Zacuto, and Columbia College tipped the proverbial iceberg by arranging state of the art 4k cinematography kits to loan the team for the expedition.  In addition to Hoffman Trotter, the Microcosm film crew will include Michael Caplan of Columbia College and Montrose Pictures, who is Co-Directing the film; and Mathew Broughton of MatieB Productions, who will serve as Director of Photography.

The excitement of it all was elevated to a new level when it was learned that the expedition will also be sailing under the famed Explorers Club flag, the same flag that accompanied the first visit to the moon, the first trip to the ocean floor, and the original conquering of Everest!

The Microcosm GoFundMe is still active and collecting funds for this and the next expedition; and there is also a limited edition collection of expedition gear being sold through Booster. Michele will blog about the expedition’s progress over the course of the summer, so be sure to check it out on the official Microcosm Film page!

The SUST community at Roosevelt wishes Professor Hoffman Trotter and her colleagues all this best on this exciting research/filming expedition that truly embodies the best of the sciences, humanities, and arts working on behalf of environmental education and the sustainability of our oceans.

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