Florida Shelf Edge Exploration 2010
July 9 – August 9, 2010
A science team on the research vessel R/V Seward Johnson departed from Fort Pierce, Florida, in early July and headed for the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The researchers are using a submersible, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), and other technology to assess and record conditions in the water column and on the seafloor to gather baseline data along Florida’s shelf edge.This mission, which scientists have named Florida Shelf Edge Exploration (FLOSEE), was unplanned. It is part of NOAA’s response to the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill, which started April 20 and continued into July.
NOAA's Deepwater Horizon Response
The FLOSEE expedition will help provide a better understanding of the spill’s actual and potential environmental effects. Researchers are observing corals and other bottom-dwelling species to establish benchmarks for measuring change that may result from the oil and chemicals used to manage the spill. The team will also assess water quality and the abundance and diversity of life from tiny plankton to the larger species that depend on corals for survival.
The mission is funded by NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research and Technology and is led by Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI), and the University of North Carolina – Wilmington. Other partners include SRI International in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the University of Miami.
Jan Petri (left) talks with members of the CNN news team aboard R/V Seward Johnson. Click image for larger view and image credit.
Partners Change Plans
Originally, HBOI had partnered with Brazilian environmental services company Cepemar for the R/V Seward Johnson's planned mission in Brazil. At NOAA’s request, these organizations agreed to delay sending the ship to Brazil, making it available to obtain scientific data as part of NOAA’s response to the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill.
“NOAA frequently joins with other organizations to supplement our research efforts. This is an example of how these partnerships are extraordinarily important, especially during this national crisis,” said Craig McLean, acting assistant administrator, NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.
The new FLOSEE mission is planned for four weeks. The activities are divided into several legs, focusing on the deep reefs and hard bottom areas along the east, south ,and west Florida shelf and slope. Starting from Harbor Branch in Fort Pierce, the expedition covers a track from the Oculina reefs off the southeast coast, through the Straits of Florida to the Dry Tortugas, north through the eastern and northern Gulf of Mexico, and west along the Florida Shelf and slope toward Alabama and Mississippi.
You can follow along with the mission though the mission logs at http://cioert.org/flosee .
- NOAA’s Deepwater Horizon Response Updates:
- NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research: http://www.oceanexplorer.noaa.gov
- NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research and Technology (including expedition web pages):
- Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute:http://www.hboi.fau.edu .
- R/V Seward Johnson
- Johnson-Sea-Link Submersible