Recent Exploration on the Southeast U.S. Continental Margin

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer collected baseline data critical in understanding the waters off the coast of the southeastern United States. From May 22nd – July 2nd, 2018, seafloor mapping and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) operations were conducted along key points of the South Atlantic Margin from Florida up to Virginia. This expedition provided scientists and policy-makers instrumental data in effectively managing our ocean habitats, including the discovery of a large networks of coral and reef communities in deep water habitats off our east coast. Some of this data has also added evidence to theories of coral mound growth in cold-water habitats.

View a comprehensive and visual summary of EX1806 – Dive 04  “Blake Escarpment South”

Several different species were observed at depths and ranges exceeding previous observations, pushing forward literature and understanding of our North Atlantic ecosystem. Some 29,000 km of seafloor were mapped by the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer through the duration of the expedition. Additionally, the expedition garnered more attention than previous ones, and set a record for scientific participation for the vessel. There were more than 140 scientists from 21 states and four countries participating on the dives. Excitingly, this two-part, telepresence-enabled expedition marks the first NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer expedition to contribute to NOAA’s Atlantic Seafloor Partnership for Integrate Research and Exploration (ASPIRE), an international project focused on collecting field data in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Below are dive sites of the ROV Deep Discoverer from aboard the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. Click each dive for more information.

The ROV Deep Discoverer (D2) simultaneously collected data about the literature-expanding biology and geology found at the various dive sites with beautiful, high-resolution video imagery. The east coast of the United States, between Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, is some of the least explored and understood areas in the country. This provided an opportunity to test the ROV’s to their limits. The ROV team were able to show scientists life from some several thousand feet below the surface in crystal clear video. Below are some of the amazing behaviors that the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer was able to capture with the help of D2 and it’s companion lighting platform, Seirios.

Jellyfish What Just Happened Exploring The Graveyard