View a visual collection of images from the The Hidden Ocean, Arctic 2005 Exploration.

View a visual collection of images from the The Hidden Ocean, Arctic 2005 Exploration.

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The Hidden Ocean Arctic 2005

June 27 - July 26, 2005

In June/July 2005, an international team of 45 scientists from the United States, Canada, China and Russia will participate in a collaborative effort to explore the frigid depths of the Canada Basin, located in one of the deepest parts of the Arctic Ocean. This expedition is named "The Hidden Ocean" because this part of the Arctic Ocean is covered with sea ice for most of the year and thus difficult to reach. Therefore very little information is currently available about the diversity of life in this region of the world although this information is urgently needed to build a baseline of data to evaluate the impacts of changing environmental conditions, including warming and ice melt in the Arctic over the last four decades.

Operating from the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy and funded by NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration, scientists will examine the hidden world of life in these extreme conditions with the aid of divers, photographic platforms and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) specially designed to operate under ice and at great depth. More traditional techniques like ice coring, plankton nets and bottom trawls will support these efforts. Due to the Canada Basin's remote location, it is possible scientists will encounter never before seen life forms.

The scientific sampling approach will cover the microscopic organisms found in the sea ice (sea ice biota) and in the sea water (mainly phytoplankton), as well as larger animals in the sea water (zooplankton) and at the sea floor (zoobenthos). The studies will try to understand linkages that exist between ice, water and sea floor in this harsh environment from the surface of the ice to the bottom of the deep sea.


Updates & Logs
Click images or links below for detailed mission logs.

Mission Summary Mission Summary This expedition represented the first comprehensive, multidisciplinary effort towards understanding and characterizing the diversity of life in the ice-covered Arctic Ocean.

Exploration Log for Zheng He Ocean Voyages Zheng He Ocean Voyages NOAA recently exhibited at "Zheng He Ocean Voyages Exhibition and International Marine Expo" held in Shanghai, China July 8-15, 2005.
slide show icon Includes slide show and audio icon audio messages.

July 25, 2005 Log July 25, 2005 See how scientists have strived to create a more visual record of what they have seen. A record we hope will be more readily understandable than hand drawn figures, graphs and tables. slide show icon Includes slide show.

July 24, 2005 Log July 24, 2005 Find out why ice diving is uniquely different compared to other dive operations. Sea ice can be several meters thick and forms a “ceiling” above you at all times. In an emergency, you cannot come directly to the surface for air. slide show icon Includes slide show.

July 23, 2005 Log July 23, 2005 The Global Explorer ROV operates on the edge of its abilities as it is skillfully maneuvered in an attempt to capture the finned octopus, Cirroteuthis muelleri. camera icon Includes videos.

July 22, 2005 Log July 22, 2005 North of the Arctic Circle, there are tremendous seasonal changes in the length of days and nights. Variations can range from 24 hours of constant daylight (“midnight sun”) in the summer to 24 hours of darkness in the winter. camera icon Includes video.

July 21, 2005 Log July 21, 2005 Sea ice is not a static substrate. It can break up and refreeze, and it can melt and disappear altogether, yet it plays an important role in ice-covered regions. Knowing who eats what in the Arctic will contribute to our basic understanding of the ecology of this region.

July 20, 2005 Log July 20, 2005 Scientists explore a 10-mile long row of depressions and possible pockmarks that was hands-down the most populated bottom area sampled. There were thousands of sea cucumbers and anemones! Benthic jelly fish hovered above the bottom while fish and shrimp finned slowly by.

July 19, 2005 Log July 19, 2005 Comb jellies are not true jellyfish; unlike jellyfish, they do not sting. These animals are among the most poorly known in the world's oceans because they have extremely fragile bodies.

July 17, 2005 Log July 17, 2005 The US Coast Guard Cutter Healy is designed as a world-class polar research vessel, capable of delivering a science party to high latitude destinations in both the Arctic and Antarctic.

July 13, 2005 Log July 13, 2005 An air science on load is something like an aerial ballet performed in quick time. It's fast, complicated, somewhat risky and very well planned. Find out why all personnel and scientific equipment for the cruise are brought aboard exclusively by helicopter.

July 11, 2005 Log July 11, 2005 The Arctic sea ice is an amazing habitat for many very small algae and animals that live in the network of brine channels in the sea ice. Experience what it is like to be an Ice diver studying the density of creatures living on the underside of ice floes. Includes both a podcast icon podcast and camera icon video.

July 10, 2005 Log July 10, 2005 Ice melt dominates the Arctic and continues until the end of September. In some regions of the Arctic all ice disappears, while other areas (mainly the deep central basins) have a sea ice cover year-round.

July 8, 2005 Log July 8, 2005 At more than 100 nautical miles from shore, the US Coast Guard Cutter HEALY lay out of flight range for HEALY helicopters. So what do you do when a part on an important instrument such as the ROV breaks?

July 7, 2005 Log July 7, 2005 Who lives deep down at the bottom of the Canada Basin? How can we find out? Researchers investigating the seafloor have used many different tools to obtain samples from the deep ocean floor.

July 6, 2005 Log July 6, 2005 A close-up footage of two elusive cephalopods were finally captured on video. A BoreoAtlantic Armhook Squid, Gonatus fabricii and a Finned octopods, known technically as Cirroteuthis muelleri, or sometimes called "Dumbos". camera icon Includes video.

July 5, 2005 Log July 5, 2005 The science team set out to look at the animals that spend their life in the midwaters, exploring alien life forms in the most foreign of all earthly environments, the frozen Arctic Ocean.

July 4, 2005 Log July 4, 2005 Scientist deploy a multi-net to collect zooplankton samples from different depths in the water column, and a photo sled intended to take images of creatures at various depths.

July 2, 2005 July 2, 2005 Dive activities were almost cancelled due to a knot in the neutral tether connected to the ROV. Read what Joe and Jerry Caba did to remedy this tense situation.

June 30, 2005 June 30, 2005 Find out what makes the Globel Explorer ROV work and how it is able to operate at phenomenal depths (over 9000 feet), extremely cold temperatures, and avoid large chunks of ice when being deployed and recovered.

June 29, 2005 Log June 29, 2005 The growth of the single-celled plants in the ocean known as phytoplankton provides the basis of all food in the ocean, understanding the factors that control phytoplankton growth will help scientist predict possible changes.

June 28, 2005 June 28 , 2005 Many simultaneous activities are taking place. Ice divers are the first to go early in the morning, a "live net" is deployed, a conductivity temperature depth (CTD) is cast...Read about other activities that are taking place.

June 27, 2005 June 27 , 2005 The science team is ferried by helicopter to the USCGC Healy because near-shore waters are too shallow to come to port. camera icon Includes video.