Background essays are written by explorers involved in a specific expedition in order to provide further background on specific topic areas associated with the expedition. Below are selected essays focused on deep-sea canyons.
Exploring Carolina Canyons: Submarine Canyons: Discovering Diversity in the Deep
The geological and morphological diversity of deep-sea canyons supports a wide variety of habitats. Some findings suggest that increased habitat diversity in canyons is responsible for enhancing benthic biodiversity and creating biomass hotspots. This essay discusses recent deep-sea canyon exploration all along the eastern U.S.
Exploring Our Deepwater Backyard
“Deep below the smooth surface of the ocean hides a complex and dramatic topography, a still largely unexplored, underwater landscape as stunning as that seen by Lewis and Clark in the west.” This essay discusses the value of exploring the deep-sea canyons and seamounts of the eastern Atlantic.
Let's Meet the Deep-sea Stars of the North Atlantic Canyons
“Where species occur is often a funny thing in biology, likely dependent on a number of factors that make those places suitable for a specific species.” Here, one of the world’s few specialists who work on the diversity and evolution of sea stars puts together what he knows from preserved specimens and decades of study with what has been recently found in the North Atlantic Canyons during explorations of the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer.
Mysteries of the Deep: Exploring Canyons along the Atlantic Margin
Submarine canyons are found throughout the world, representing complex seafloor features that link the upper continental shelf to the abyssal plain. They punctuate the margin by incising the shelf, creating scenic seascapes reminiscent of their terrestrial counterparts.
Archaeology of the Atlantic Canyons
The mid-Atlantic outer continental shelf (OCS) intersects with some of the most historically significant waters in the United States and the historical and archaeological importance of the region is substantial.
Submarine Canyon Evolution (the Geological Kind)
During the long summer days of July and August, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Deep Discoverer (D2), and the cadre of scientists and technicians both aboard ship and ashore have had the rare opportunity to visit more than 10 submarine canyons along the U.S. Atlantic continental slope during the Northeast U.S. Canyons cruise.
Atlantic Canyons Undersea Mapping 2012 Expeditions: Deepwater Canyons: Why We Care
Deepwater canyons are prominent features off the coast of the eastern United States, beginning at the edge of the continental shelf and with some extending down the continental slope to the abyssal plain.
Mid-Atlantic Deepwater Canyons
Submarine canyons are dominant features of the outer continental shelf and slope of the US East coast from Cape Hatteras to the Gulf of Maine. There are 13 major canyons in the Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB) region, and minor canyons are abundant.
This section provides direct access to selected lessons about deep-sea canyons developed by scientists and educators during Ocean Explorer field seasons. These lessons are geared toward students in Grades 5-12. Presented here as Web-based education materials, each lesson corresponds with a specific ocean exploration and can be supplemented with daily logs prepared by scientists and educators during each mission at sea. Additional lessons on canyons can be found using the Lesson Plan search feature.
Older lessons are aligned to the National Science Education Standards and newer lessons support the Next Generation Science Standards (and their associated Common Core Standards). All lessons from 2006 to the present also support the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts. Note: The web links provided in lessons are verified at the time of publication, but over time, some links may change or become obsolete.
Mapping Deep-Sea Habitats
Bathymetric mapping of deep-sea habitats
Students will be able to create a two-dimensional topographic map given bathymetric survey data. Students will be able to create a three-dimensional model of landforms from a two-dimensional topographic map. Students will be able to interpret two- and three-dimensional topographic data. (See Hudson Canyon data on last 3 pages.)
Students will explain how multibeam sonar is an example of advances in engineering that have extended the measurement, exploration, modeling, and computational capacity of scientific investigations. Students will analyze data from a simulated multibeam sonar system to create a three-dimensional map that shows ocean sea floor ridges and trenches, and explain how tectonic processes produce these features.
Levantamiento batimétrico (Ciencias físicas/Ciencias de la Tierra)
Los estudiantes interpretarán y analizarán datos para explicar cómo se utiliza el sonar multihaz
para identificar patrones en las estructuras de los fondos oceánicos, para construir mapas tridimensionales y para comprender cómo la tecnología de sonar multihaz amplía la capacidad de medición y exploración de la exploración oceánica actual.
Actividad práctica: construir mapas de las características del fondo marino
An Underwater Sediment Slide?
Sediment transport in an underwater canyon
Students will learn about the proximity of the Hudson Shelf Valley and the Hudson Canyon to one of the Nation’s most populated areas. Students will learn that from 1987 to 1992, two dumpsites in the Hudson Shelf Valley and Hudson Canyon, one 12 miles out to sea and one 106 miles out to sea, were used to dispose of sewage. Students will learn that canyons transport contaminants from nearshore areas to the deep sea.
Mapping the Canyon (see page 23 in this document)
Bathymetry of Hudson Canyon
Students will be able to compare and contrast a topographic map to a bathymetric map. Students will investigate the various ways in which bathymetric maps are made. Students will learn how to interpret a bathymetric map.
Multitalented Underwater Robot
Grades: 9-12 (Engineering Design)
Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Sentry
Students will understand how engineers approach complex real-world problems by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable problems. In this lesson, students will investigate how complex Sentry missions are planned.
Below are links to a few selected videos and images of deep-sea canyons from previous Ocean Explorer expeditions.
Exploration of Phoenix Canyon
This highlight video takes us to Phoenix Canyon to explore deep-water biodiversity within the western north Atlantic. The team discusses how organisms of the deep sea find and obtain food and get an up-close view of predation and parasitism.
Exploration of Hendrickson Canyon
This highlight video takes us to Hendrickson Canyon off the coast of New Jersey. Explorers test the sediment depth with a probe affectionately called “Sepoke.”
2016 Hohonu Moana expedition
Dr. Daniel Wagner narrates this highlight video of some of the extraordinary life encountered during dives on the 2016 Hohonu Moana expedition, including dives to explore submarine canyons.
Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts 2014 Expedition
This highlight video of the exploration of a canyon off the northeast coast of the U.S. reveals a field of xenophyophores (the world’s largest single-celled organisms), a fish skeleton, octopi on canyon walls, a tongue worm, and much more!
Monkfish, or goosefish, seen while exploring Washington Canyon at a depth of approximately 660 meters.
Predation in a Deep-sea Canyon
Swarms of squid were seen while diving in Norfolk Canyon; the squid were feeding and being fed upon.
Canyons to be explored during Carolina Canyons 2016
This map displays the operating area of the Exploring Carolina Canyons 2016 expedition.
Currents sweep past an overhang of rock at 1,152 meters depth in Oceanographer Canyon.
Exploring Atlantic Canyons
Highlight images from Leg 2 of the 2014 Our Deepwater Backyard: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts Expedition include jellyfish, sea anemones, fishes, crabs, squid and more!
A pancake urchin moves across some discarded human debris in McMaster Canyon.
Martha Nizinski, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service zoologist
In this 16 minute video, Martha Nizinski, a zoologist with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, discusses previous Atlantic canyon mapping cruises and deepwater coral habitat exploration.
Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition 2013
Scientists explore the diversity of canyon geomorphology and benthic habitats from 926 to 863 meters.
East Wall of Atlantis Canyon
Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition 2013. Dive 08 was conducted in Atlantis Canyon. The science team discusses the value of Telepresence technology, a close up view of sea pen anatomy, and the variety of corals found.
Often multiple species of invertebrates are found co-occurring on rock ledges and canyon walls. Here a brisingid sea star, an octopus, bivalves, and several individuals of the cup coral, Desmophyllum, are found in close proximity to one another.
Throughout the 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition we saw several cephalopods, but few have been as cute as this bobtail squid!
A king crab explores the soft sediment.
Exploration of Canyons and Intercanyons
This video captures highlights from the 15 dives that were conducted during Leg 2 of the expedition from the ROV Deep Discoverer and the Seirios camera platform from the Mytilus Seamount along the northeastern coast of the United States.
Deepwater Mid-Atlantic Canyons Project
The primary target areas for the Deepwater Mid-Atlantic Canyons Project are in and around the Norfolk, Washington, Accomac, and Baltimore canyons.
New York-New Jersey Coastal Ocean
General bathymetry of the coastal ocean in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region. Detailed bathymetric data provides a framework for future exploration.
OceanAGE Careers Connections
The Ocean Careers to Inspire Another Generation of Explorers, or OceanAGE Careers webpage, invites students to learn about the talented people who explore our ocean planet. From underwater pilots to research scientists, these marine explorers provide students with first-hand knowledge of exciting careers through videotaped interviews and written profiles.
Meet NOAA's newest ocean explorers, who have trained on the Okeanos Explorer.
The above items are only a selection of canyons content on our website.