Rochester author chronicles ocean research trip in third book

Apr 8, 2024

ROCHESTER — In May 2021, Rochester resident Michelle Cusolito boarded a research ship in Vigo, Spain and didn’t step back on land for 24 days.

Cusolito joined a group of scientists studying the way carbon is passed along and stored beneath the ocean’s surface.

This May, her third book, titled “Window into the Ocean Twilight Zone” will be published, documenting the trip and what Cusolito learned.

According to Cusolito, the Twilight Zone of the ocean refers to depths of 200 to 1000 meters beneath the surface.

Cusolito joined the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for the trip, after getting to know a pilot of a submersible based at WHOI.

“This particular trip was part of the Ocean Twilight Zone project, which WHOI has been involved in for 6 years,” said Cusolito. “Scientists are trying to understand the process of how carbon gets from surface waters to the deep ocean, how long it will stay and the impacts it has.”

Cusolito spent the trip making blog posts for the organization, taking four notebooks worth of notes for her book and helping out any way she could.

“One thing that is important to me that kids take away is that it takes a really big team to make this happen,” said Cusolito. “Everyone is important to the success of the mission. Being a good shipmate is important.”

She said the book is targeted towards middle school students but has found that adults enjoy the content and can learn a lot.

Each of Cusolito’s three books are focused on the ocean.

“It's really me chasing my interests and what I find fascinating,” she said.

Cusolito said this fascination with the ocean started as a child, sailing around Marion in her father’s boat and exploring tide pools in search of creatures.

“I would be thrilled if this book inspires someone to go into the field of marine science,” said Cusolito.

On May 7, along with the release of “Window into the Ocean Twilight Zone”, Cusolito will ask questions to a panel of people whom she was aboard the ship with at Redfield Auditorium in Falmouth.

The book is currently available for preorder anywhere books are sold.