Follow the adventures of our ocean explorers through our Web offerings. You can browse past expeditions by year below or you can visit this page to explore by topic.
Access data collected during past expeditions via the Digital Atlas.
(December 2016 - September 2017) From December 2016 through September 2017, a team of NOAA and external partners will conduct the third year of the ‘Campaign to Address Pacific monument Science, Technology, and Ocean NEeds (CAPSTONE)’ field effort, deploying NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to investigate and document the diversity and distribution of deepwater environments in U.S. central Pacific waters, the high seas, and waters of several Pacific Island countries and territories.
(August - September) From August 25 to September 11, 2016, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer will transit from Kwajalein Atoll to the operational working grounds near Wake Island, followed by final transit to Honolulu, Hawaii. Mapping efforts will focus on using the ship's deepwater sonar systems to explore several unnamed, previously unexplored seamounts near Wake Island.
(August - September) Beginning on August 24, 2016, a team of scientists and engineers aboard NOAA Ship Pisces will spend 15 days at sea exploring three deepwater canyons off the coast of North Carolina. Specifically, the team will target Keller, Pamlico, and Hatteras canyons.
(August - September) The primary focus of this mission is to completely characterize the remains of a World War II Naval Battlefield. For years, NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary has been conducting a series of comprehensive surveys of WWII shipwrecks off North Carolina associated with the Battle of the Atlantic. In 2014, following years of research and searching, the remains of the KS-520 battle were discovered. Now scientists are going back for further study.
(July - August) From July 27 through August 19, 2016, NOAA and partners will conduct a telepresence-enabled ocean exploration cruise on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information in and around the Wake Island Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
(July - August) A team of scientists, media personnel, and educators will sail to the Arctic's Chukchi Borderlands onboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy. They will apply an ecosystem perspective to investigate microbial communities in sea ice, water, and seafloor environments; water column (planktonic) organisms; invertebrate and fish seafloor (benthic) communities; as well as conduct observations of marine mammals and seabirds.
(May - September) On May 10, 2016, the Ocean Exploration Trust will embark on a four-month expedition aboard Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus. In its second year of exploring the eastern Pacific Ocean, Nautilus will visit sites from British Columbia and along the west coast of North America down to southern California, including regions within several national marine sanctuaries.
(April - July) From April 20 to July 10, 2016, NOAA and partners will conduct a three-cruise expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information of unknown and poorly known areas in and around the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
(June) On June 7-8, a team will use OpenROV submersibles to explore the SS Tahoe shipwreck. They will document the expedition and engage virtual citizen explorers online and demonstrate best practices that can be adopted by the citizen exploration community at large. While not a NOAA-funded expedition, the project serves as an opportunity for NOAA to help support a new citizen exploration model.
(March - April) From March 23 to April 13, 2016, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer will conduct 24-hour mapping operations to explore the largely unknown region surrounding the Wake Island Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM). This is the first of three cruises in the 2016 field season focused on deepwater exploration of the PRIMNM.
(March - April) From March 17-30, 2016, a University of Maine-led team will conduct the first-ever deepwater exploration of Glacier Bay National Park using both diver-based surveys and a remotely operated vehicle.
In 2015, NOAA and partner scientists deployed a hydrophone to a depth of 10,971 meters (6.71 miles) within the Challenger Deep trough in the Mariana Trench near Micronesia. Here are some of their results.
(February - March) From February 25 to March 18, scientists will continue 2015 Hohonu Moana expedition efforts to explore deep-water habitats in and around Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The expedition will include work on seamounts in the Mid-Pacific Mountains while en route to port in Kwajalein.
(February) From February 12 to February 17, the team will shakedown newly installed systems, test data work flow and integration, and prepare for the rest of the field season. A primary objective of this cruise is to test the remotely operated vehicle (ROVs) in a controlled environment and train new ROV engineers.
(February - September) A team of NOAA and external partners will investigate and document deep-water environments in and around the Hawaiian Archipelago, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands and Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, and Wake Atoll section of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
(July - September) From July 10 to September 30, a team of NOAA and external partners both at-sea and on shore will conduct mapping and remotely operated vehicle operations in the deep waters of the Hawaiian Archipelago, including the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and Johnston Atoll.
(August - September) From August 22-September 4, scientists will conduct the final round of fieldwork as part of the Coral Ecosystem Connectivity 2015: From Pulley Ridge to the Florida Keys expedition.
(August) The Search for the Lost Whaling Fleets of the Western Arctic expedition, conducted in August of 2015, brings the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ Maritime Heritage Program to the remote and challenging Alaska region for the first time in the more than four decades since the creation of the National Marine Sanctuary Program.
(July) From July 15-27, scientists will use combined expertise in bioluminescence, taxonomy, visual ecology, imaging and molecular biology, and the unique collecting capabilities and camera systems of the Global Explorer to continue studies of the deep-sea benthic environment in the Gulf of Mexico.
(May - June) From May 8 to June 12, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer will journey from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, exploring along the way. Okeanos Explorer will leave Puerto Rico to traverse the Western Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Eastern Pacific.
(February - April) From February through April 2015, the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research will lead a three-leg expedition aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to explore unknown and poorly known deepwater regions around Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Between January 2015 and August 2016, scientists will use next-generation DNA sequencing technologies and cutting-edge bioinformatics approaches to enable the discovery and characterization of the largely unknown molecular diversity of microbes associated with Arctic sea ice and seafloor habitats.
(2015 - 2017) In July 2015, a team of NOAA and partners initiated the ‘Campaign to Address Pacific monument Science, Technology, and Ocean NEeds (CAPSTONE),' a multi-year effort focused on deepwater areas of U.S. marine protected areas in the Pacific.
(Spring 2015) Leading the state-of-the-art development of marine robotic 3D mapping for underwater archaeology, our University of Michigan-based team recently returned from an archaeological field expedition to the underwater city of Port Royal, Jamaica.
(April - September) From April through September 2015, E/V Nautilus will explore sites from the Gulf of Mexico to British Columbia. The season marks the transition of the vessel and operations to the west coast of the United States and the Pacific Ocean, concluding over two years of research in the Gulf and Caribbean regions.
Over a two-year period, a team from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez will systematically test, improve, and enhance relatively low-cost free vehicles and free vehicle-supported research methods in shallow to abyssal depths.
(March - April) This is the second of three exploration cruises of NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in the Caribbean in the 2015 field season. The primary focus of this cruise is high-resolution mapping of areas near Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Trench.
(February - March) From February 24 – March 11, 2015, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer will conduct a mapping expedition, beginning in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, and ending in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
(February - September) From February through September 2015, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer will embark on a journey to investigate and document the Caribbean and the Hawaiian Islands. A combination of scientists, technicians, and engineers – both on board the ship and on shore – will map and explore the geological, biological, archaeological, and chemical features of these vast areas.
(November - December) During November and December 2014, scientists will travel to the Submarine Ring of Fire to study iron-oxidizing bacteria at hydrothermal vents and how carbon dioxide from submarine volcanoes impacts nearby biological communities.
(August - October) From August through October 2014, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer will explore the largely unknown deep-sea ecosystems of the U.S. Atlantic coast. Our at-sea and shore-based science team will collect baseline data in the Atlantic submarine canyons and along the New England Seamount Chain.
(July - August) During the late summer of 2014, a team of maritime archaeologists from the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program, the research arm of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, embarked on a mission to discover the lost French Fleet of 1565.
(August) This is the third year of a five-year study to investigate the role that the mesophotic reefs of Pulley Ridge (off the southwest coast of Florida) may play in replenishing key fish species, such as grouper and snapper, and other organisms in the downstream reefs of the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas.
(February - May) A team of scientists and technicians both at sea and on shore conducted exploratory investigations on the diversity and distribution of deep-sea habitats and marine life in the Gulf of Mexico. This expedition focused on acquiring data on priority exploration areas identified by management and science communities.
(September - October) From September 23 - October 12, 2014, NOAA and University of New Hampshire scientists aboard the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution-operated Research Vessel Atlantis will conduct a 16-day mapping expedition to the Mendocino Ridge off the coast of northern California.
(September) From September 3 - 14, 2014, scientists on board the Exploration Vessel Nautilus will visit several unexplored seamounts that punctuate the seafloor within the Caribbean Sea, uncovering information about geologic, biologic, and oceanographic processes.
(June - October) From June to October 2014, Exploration Vessel Nautilus will embark on a journey to document and research the regions of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.
(May) NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service Southwest Fisheries Science Center is working with Boeing under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to explore the potential applicability of the large autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Echo Ranger for a rockfish survey.
(May) From May 7-May 22, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer conducted a 16-day mapping expedition beginning in Tampa, Florida, and ending at the ship’s homeport of North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Exploratory ocean mapping occured at all times during the expedition as the Okeanos Explorer traveled around the Florida Keys and northward along the U.S. East Coast.
(April - May) From April 12 – May 20, scientists on board the R/V Thompson, used the hybrid remotely operated vehicle, Nereus, to explore systematically for the first time the hadal Kermadec trench system and the neighboring abyssal plain in the Southwestern Pacific, north of New Zealand.
(August) The R/V F.G. Walton Smith and the M/V Spree combined efforts in the second year of a five-year study to investigate the role that the mesophotic reefs of Pulley Ridge (off the southwest coast of Florida) may play in replenishing key fish species and other organisms in the downstream reefs of the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas.
(July - August) From July to August 2013, a team of scientists and technicians both at-sea and on shore conducted exploratory investigations on the diversity and distribution of deep-sea habitats and marine life along the Northeast U.S. Canyons and at Mytilus Seamount, located within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.
(April - May) Scientists on the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown studied the biology of Norfolk Canyon, with some sampling in Baltimore Canyon and exploration of archaeological targets in and around the Norfolk Canyon area.
(August) This was the final cruise in a four-year project to study submarine canyons along the continental slope of the Middle Atlantic coast. Submarine canyons are dominant features of the outer continental shelf and slope of the U.S. east coast from Cape Hatteras to the Gulf of Maine.
(July) Between July 18 and 25, the Ocean Exploration Trust's Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus returned to investigate an early 19th century wooden shipwreck first explored by NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in April 2012.
(June) NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer conducted seafloor and water column mapping operations in the Western North Atlantic Ocean over a portion of the New England Seamount Chain from June 11-29, 2013.
(May - June) From May 13 – June 6, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer conducted mapping operations and testing of a new remotely operated vehicle off the East Coast of the United States.
(March - April) Between March 18 and April 5, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer conducted mapping operations within the Western North Atlantic Ocean as part of the annual ship shakedown.
(September) See the highlights, including daily logs, images, and video, from the latest in a series of expeditions to explore the submarine volcanoes of the Western Pacific.
(August - September) Learn how scientists conducted long-term research to better understand the causes and consequences of environmental change in the fragile Arctic environment.
(August - October) Scientists aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster explored and characterized hard- and soft-bottom communities as well as shipwreck sites in canyons off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland.
(July) Scientists returned to two dive sites they visited in 2009, hoping to excavate late Pleistocene terrestrial sediments containing plants, animals, and perhaps artifacts from some of the first human beings to arrive in the New World.
(July) Scientists aboard the Research Vessel Brooks McCall set off on their fifth and final expedition to investigate the deep-water coral communities of the Gulf of Mexico.
(April) During a 10-day cruise on the Research Vessel Melville, scientists probed for strange new biological life forms, communities, and ecosystems dependent unknown conditions.
(March - April) From March to April 2012, a team of scientists and technicians both at-sea and on shore conducted exploratory investigations on the diversity and distribution of deep-sea habitats and marine life in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
(November) Between November 2 and November 20, 2012, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer operated in the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and the U.S.-Canadian territorial boundary.
(July - August) Learn what scientists uncovered while on board Exploration Vessel Nautilus to explore the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, and Mediterranean Sea off the coasts of Turkey and Cyprus.
(February - August) Between February and August 2012, a team of NOAA and external partners conducted a mapping ‘blitz’ focused on deepwater canyons off the northeastern seaboard.
(September) Scientists on an interdisciplinary expedition explored the forgotten world of the Maya in the Yucatan along the tip of Quintana Roo. See how the Maya maritime trade network was able to thrive in a challenging coastal environment that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Caribbean.
(August) NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer traveled to the deepest part of the Caribbean Sea, where a team of international scientists both at-sea and on shore conducted interdisciplinary investigations of the Mid-Cayman Rise.
(July) NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer embarked on a unique expedition to one of the most fascinating areas of the world’s oceans to explore the water column and unexplored benthic environments in the Galápagos region.
(June) Some of the world’s foremost technical divers are using state-of-the-art equipment to explore Bermuda's deep water caves. See how they examined the unique characteristics of Bermuda's shelf edge in order to learn about climate and sea level changes since the last Ice Age.
Scientists from a multi-institute initiative conducted ocean exploration projects in the Black, Aegean, and Mediterranean Seas and the eastern Atlantic Ocean over a five-month period.
(August – September) Very few deep water multibeam sonars are capable of providing water column backscatter data. Learn why the primary purpose of this expedition was to study the feasibility of using this capability to map gasses in the water column.
(August) Scientists returned to four dive sites they visited in 2009 to study the biology, geology, and oceanography of a series of canyons off the middle Atlantic coast of the U.S.
(June) This project represented a major systematic exploration of submarine canyons on the continental margin of the eastern United States. Scientists used data and information to improve knowledge of the type and extent of unique deep-water communities in the mid-Atlantic canyons.
(March) This expedition provided an opportunity to get NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer underway and ensure that all of its systems and equipment were fully operational prior to integration of the remotely operated vehicle on board.
(February - March) In this deep-diving expedition to the Southern Pacific, scientists characterized deep-reef communities and began the task of assessing organisms for their biotechnology potential.
(October) Scientists aboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown set off on their fourth expedition to investigate the deep-water coral communities of the Gulf of Mexico.
(September) Using a multidisciplinary approach including mapping, core sampling, and "green" vessel technology, scientists explored this famous—if still relatively poorly understood—underwater fault off Northern California's coast.
(August) Thunder Bay 2010 brought cutting-edge shipwreck-finding technology to Lake Huron’s “shipwreck alley” – the stretch of Lake Huron just off the northeastern Michigan coast that has claimed hundreds of ships.
(June – August) An international team led by scientists from the United States and Indonesia participated in a collaborative effort to explore the depths of Indonesian waters.
(February) A diverse team of scientists tackled questions about strange new biological life forms, communities, and ecosystems far from the sunlit ocean surface at the Chilean Triple Junction.
(August - September) Using high-resolution systematic surveys of a large area along the shipping routes used by Massachusetts’ oldest ports, scientists tried to locate historic shipwrecks, including a shipwreck from the earliest periods of United States history.
(October) Systematic exploration aboard the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer has been an evolving operational model referred to as a “sticks and boxes” approach. The variety of data being collected onboard the Okeanos during this cruise from Hawaii to California represented a step forward in the exploration conducted with the at-sea time allotted to the ship.
(October) NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries hosted this research and education mission, bringing the science of ocean conservation and the underwater world to the public during live Internet broadcasts from the Aquarius undersea laboratory in the Florida Keys.
(August - September) The 2010 Extended Continental Shelf survey was a five-week-long Arctic mapping expedition involving two icebreakers: U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis S. St-Laurent.
(July - August) A science team on the research vessel Seward Johnson headed to the eastern Gulf of Mexico to assess and record conditions in the water column and on the seafloor to gather baseline data along Florida’s shelf edge as part of NOAA’s response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
(April - May) This unique expedition took place in Ballena Bay, just off the Isla Espíritu Santo. Learn why scientists hoped their findings would give them a better understanding of human migration into the New World.
(December) See how scientists set out on a series of expeditions in the seas surrounding Bermuda, searching for deep-water caves.
(November) During the 2009 Russian-American Long-Term Census of the Arctic (RUSALCA) expedition, scientists once again visited the Bering Strait and northwards to the Pacific side of the Arctic Ocean, as they did in 2004.
(October) Scientists explored the North American Florida Middle Grounds for traces of early human occupation on a submerged late Pleistocene landscape.
(August) Scientists returned to the Gulf of Mexico to collect data related to cold water corals, including coral habitats, their levels of genetic connectivity, and the distribution of their communities.
(July) Scientists explored the fascinating phenomenon of bioluminescence, rarely found on land, yet common in species throughout the world ocean.
(August) NOAA joined a multi-agency joint expedition that brought together icebreakers from the U.S. and Canada to collect and share data useful to both countries in defining the full extent of the Arctic continental shelf.
(June) Refitting a ship to conduct deep-ocean exploration, installing complex, high-tech equipment and systems to enable remote access to data and information from sea, and building out and installing deep water dual-body remotely operated vehicles with an associated state-of-the-art control room—all monumental efforts. See how we did it!
(May) Scientists traveled to the sites of two recent underwater volcano eruptions in the Northeast Lau Basin and discovered new insights on eruptive phenomena in this environment.
(March) The science team explored the deep slopes of the Northern Bahamas, looking for deep-sea communities of octocorals to determine if the coral species and their associated fauna living in the subtropical Bahamas are the same as those on the seamounts to the north.
(September) Scientists used a combination of remote sensing, quantitative community collections, and genetic analyses to further understanding of cold-water corals and the communities associated with them.
(September) Scientists explored shallow and deep coastal sinkholes in Lake Huron to understand the unique ecology found in these systems.
(October) Scientists explored the North American Florida Middle Grounds for traces of early human occupation on a submerged late Pleistocene landscape.
(January) Scientists on this expedition used autonomous underwater vehicles to survey the most pristine coral reef environment in the Caribbean.
(July) A team of maritime archaeologists return to the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico to study inundated late Pleistocene landscapes and how these features may give clues to Florida's first "snowbirds."
(October) A team of maritime archaeologists return to the wreck sites of the slave ship Trouvadore, first identified during a 2006 expedition off the coast of East Caicos in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
(September - October) Join this expedition to unexplored waters south of the Philippine Islands and follow along as scientists search for the strange, and possibly unknown, fishes, jellies, squids, and shrimp that live in the dark, deep waters of the Celebes Sea.
(July - August) Scientists return to the Kermadec Arc to explore in great detail the Brothers submarine volcano. This research marks the most comprehensive exploration of this type of arc volcano, which is one of the most vigorous geothermaly active underwater volcanoes yet discovered.
(August) Telepresence technology on board the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer is used to provide scientists and the public video, images, and data in real time.
(June) Scientists revisit previous discoveries and explore new areas as they study of hydrocarbon seep communities found in waters deeper than 1,000 meters in the Gulf of Mexico.
(May) Follow highly trained technical divers as they mount an expedition into the rarely explored Cayman Islands Twilight Zone.
(June) The Hampton Roads Naval Museum and NOAA held a summer enrichment program, giving students the opportunity to experience being a historian, archeologist and marine scientist.
(November) Follow explorers as they use new laser technology to examine coral reefs, fishing sites, and a World War II aircraft wreck off the coast of Maui.
(June - July) An international team of engineers, geologists, geochemists, and historians explore deep sites within Greek national waters using a combination of deep submergence technologies with integrated technological systems to collect data to answer questions fundamental to both social science and Earth science.
(May - June) Follow along as a research team documents deep-sea coral and sponge communities in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.
(May - June) Scientists conduct the first systematic exploration of hydrocarbon seep communities in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
(April - May) Scientists return to explore active submarine volcanoes lying along the Mariana Arc, extending for more than 800 nautical miles.
(January - February) Join this mission as scientists explore the cold waters of the Davidson Seamount at depths of 4,100 to 12,000 feet (1,250 to 3,660 meters) off the Central California coastline.
(November - December) A team travels to the Antarctic to study the dynamic tectonic and volcanic environment of the Bransfield Strait and Drake Passage.
(November) Discover the unusual forms of life that exist in the cold, deep waters off New Zealand.
(August - March) Scientists attach sensors to deep-diving narwhals to uncover their secrets and better understand Arctic waters.
(August) Scientists use state-of-the-art sonar to rapidly map rock, coral, and other physically and biogenically formed bottom features of the outer continental shelf and upper slope off South Carolina.
(July) A team of explorers uncovers the history of the 19th century slave trade as they search for the wreck of the Trouvadore.
(April - June) Join this expedition as scientists study the archaeology and geology of the Aegean and Black Seas and follow as they explore this ancient crossroads of maritime activity with Dr. Robert Ballard, discoverer of the Titanic.
(April) Nearly half of the United States ocean coastline falls within the boundaries of the State of Alaska. The state’s continental shelf is the final resting place for more than 4,000 known shipwrecks. See how scientists discovered some of Alaska's submerged heritage.
(December - January) Scientists on this expedition surveyed the ocean floor north of the Galapagos Islands, looking for underwater volcanoes and oceanic hotspots.
(November) Unlike shallow-water tropical reefs, deep-water reefs are not well known. The data gathered during the Florida Coast Deep Corals 2005 expedition provided a strong foundation of information on the deep-water coral ecosystems off the Florida coast.
(October - November) Scientists return to the waters off the East Coast of the U.S. to explore the continental slope coral ecosystems. Increasing evidence shows that deep-water corals are important fish habitats, hold information on ocean climate and productivity, and are hotspots for biodiversity.
(August - September) Scientists return to explore the benthic creatures of the Northern Gulf of Mexico, hoping to continue an astonishing array of discoveries, including that of a fluorescent shark, fluorescent methane hydrates, and a new species of large deep-sea squid.
(August - September) Scientists studied the very old New England and Corner Stone seamount chains to help them understand the distribution of deep-sea biodiversity.
(July - August) This exploration introduced a new methodology for marine fieldwork, as scientists used satellites to view and analyze data without being on a ship at sea.
(June - July) Scientists participated in a collaborative effort to explore the frigid depths of the Canada Basin, located in one of the deepest parts of the Arctic Ocean.
(April - May) Join scientists as they explore the active submarine volcanoes along the Kermadec Arc, located north of New Zealand, with a pair of manned submersibles, the PISCES IV and V.
(December) Scientists deployed an array of Autonomous Underwater Hydrophones (AUH) that will be recovered in 2006. When the AUH array is recovered, captured sounds will enable identification of volcanically active regions on the seafloor as well as the location of critical habitat for baleen whales.
(July) The Aquarius Project was an intensive week of ocean science and discovery for a nationally selected group of six Girl Scouts sponsored by NOAA, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and Girl Scouts of America.
(May - June) Scientists returned to a discovery found just over a quarter-century ago on the bottom of the eastern Pacific Ocean: Thriving at deep-sea vents was a community of tubeworms, giant clams, white crabs, and other species never before seen by people. This discovery forever changed our understanding of our planet and life on it.
(March - July) Join scientists as they explore the Vailulu'u underwater volcano that lies approximately 20 miles east of Ta'u Island in American Samoa.
(August) Scientists worked along a "Latitude 31-30 Transect" line that extends from the coast to the deep sea. The expedition concentrated on deeper waters (greater than 400 meters) of the Transect, to complement previous studies of shallow-water faunas.
(August) The science team used advanced camera systems and light-tight traps to explore the benthic creatures of the Northern Gulf of Mexico - one of the most geologically complex regions on the planet.
(August) The expedition party dove to 3,500 meters to conduct biological and geological investigations on five submerged volcanoes over a 400-nautical-mile section of the Northeast Pacific.
(May) Scientists returned to document and try to understand the octocoral communities of the New England Seamounts.
(March - April) An interdisciplinary team of scientists returned to the submarine volcanoes of the Mariana Arc to explore using an underwater tethered robot (ROPOS).
(Summer) The Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Naval Historical Center conducted a remote-sensing survey of a portion of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to locate, identify, and document what remains of the United States Schooner Alligator.
In 2004, two opportunities existed to visit the world’s only undersea laboratory, including an essay contest and a Girl Scout project.
(September - December) Discover why the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands are rich with a high diversity of tropical algae (seaweed, or limu) and other marine life.
(September) Read about a marine archaeology expedition where scientists were trying to shed some light on what happened to the ill-fated American submarine, the USS 0-9.
(October) Scientists examined the coral-associated invertebrate fauna at three large precious coral beds in the Hawaiian Archipelago, the Makapu'u Bed, on the southeast slope of Oahu, the Keahole Bed, on the western slope of Hawaii, and the Cross Seamount Bed.
(August - October) Scientists on the Ocracoke Shipwreck Survey were seeking to discover the remains of America's lost maritime heritage through exploration and discovery of submerged cultural resources, primarily focusing on shipwrecks.
(July - August) Scientists ventured into the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico to learn the long-term effect of man-made structures on the deep sea, and conversely, the effect of the environment on those structures.
(July - August) A team of U.S. and Russian scientists embarked on an exploration of the Bering and Chukchi Seas, an area thought be particularly sensitive to global climate change.
(July) Scientists investigated the wreck of the Kad'yak, a Russian-American Company bark-rigged sailing vessel. In the final years before the United States purchased Alaska in 1867, the ship carried trade goods between Russian settlements and the Hawaiian Islands.
(June) A collaborative team of scientists continued and expanded their work in the deep-water habitats that exist in the transition zone between the continental shelf and the deep sea off the U.S. Atlantic coast.
(May - June) Nearly 20 years after first finding the sunken remains of the R.M.S. Titanic, marine explorer Robert Ballard returned to help study the ship's rapid deterioration.
(May) Aircraft wrecks lost in Lake Michigan have long held Navy interest. In 2004, a U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Area Search Detachment team, under the guidance the Naval Historical Center, conducted a week-long remote sensing survey of the southern portion of Lake Michigan looking for these sunken historic World War II vintage aircraft.
(February - March) An interdisciplinary team of scientists explored the submarine volcanoes of the Mariana Arc lying north of Guam in the western Pacific.
(July) Explorers visited several little-known seamounts in the North Atlantic to study various aspects of deep-sea octocorals and other organisms living on and around these submerged mountains.
(July - August) Scientists used the Alvin submersible and other tools to explore the biology, physics, and chemistry of seafloor methane seeps at water depths of 2,000 meters to 2,800 meters off the coast of the southeastern U.S.
(August) Scientists investigated how fishes and invertebrates adapt to a variety of bottom habitats and strong, shifting currents along the rocky, erosion-resistant Charleston Bump.
(August) A team examined unexplored deep reef habitats off the Carolinas and defined their faunal composition.
(September) A team studied marine organisms found in deep-water habitats in the Gulf of Mexico as potential sources of new drugs.
(September) The steamship Portland and all aboard were lost in 1898 during a massive storm off New England. A team dove on the wreck to unravel the mystery behind the sinking.
(September - October) An interdisciplinary scientific team spent 12 days exploring deep-sea coral habitats in the Northern Gulf of Mexico.
(February - March) A science team attempted to develop the first coherent high-resolution bathymetric map of the Puerto Rico Trench.
(February) A student team studied the reproductive biology and biochemistry of cold-seep mussels and various other seasonally reproducing deep-sea animals.
(March) A science team evaluated Kick'em Jenny, the most active underwater volcano in the West Indies.
(June - July) Scientists returned to the Titantic to assess the wreck site in its current condition and provide an opportunity to conduct scientific observations for ongoing research.
(July - August) A science team explored the preserved shipwrecks of the Black Sea.
(August - October) The British warship Gaspee's burning by disgruntled colonists in 1773 ranks alongside the Boston Tea Party as a galvanizing step on the road to the American Revolution. A team looked for the sunken vessel this summer.
(September) A team mapped parts of the world’s least explored ocean, the Arctic. The expedition covered the Chukchi and Northwind Ridge.
(September - November) A multidisciplinary team explored the pristine reefs and seamounts of the NWHI, a remote chain of small islands and atolls stretching 1,200 nautical miles northwest of the main Hawaiian Islands.
(October) In July 1942, the German U-boat 166 was attacked and sank by the U.S. Navy. The science team that discovered the wreck in 2001 returned to study the submarine.
In 2003, two opportunities existed to visit the world’s only undersea laboratory, including an essay contest and a Girl Scout project.
(April - September) Aboard the McArthur, the Sanctuary Quest Expedition team conducted research, exploration, and monitoring within and adjacent to a system of national marine sanctuaries along the Pacific coast.
(May) A team explored the Davidson seamount with remotely operated vehicles. Extensive video surveying and biological sampling shed light on this little known undersea island.
(May - June) To mark the 25th anniversary of the historic discovery of deep-sea hydrothermal vents at the Galápagos Rift, a team of scientists from NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and several universities revisited the Galapagos Rift.
(June - July) Scientists studied several unexplored seamounts in the Gulf of Alaska to understand how they formed and to determine their volcanic history.
(June - August) An interdisciplinary exploration team used new technology to investigate the birth of new ocean crust off the coast of western North America, part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire."
(June - October) Monitor Expedition 2002 was the final phase of a multi-year effort to recover the wreck of this famous Civil War ironclad, located 20 miles off the coast of North Carolina.
(July - August) "Islands in the Stream 2002: Exploring Underwater Oases" consisted of four scientific investigations to study the continental shelf break and slope from the eastern coast of Florida to North Carolina — an area known as the South Atlantic Bight.
(June - October) A team explored and studied the communities of animals found around deep-sea oil seeps to improve our understanding of the lush habitats that thrive in the absence of sunlight.
(August - September) An international team explored the frigid depths of the remote Canada Basin, located in the Arctic Ocean. Due to the region's heavy year-round ice cover, this expedition was the first one of its kind.
(August - September) An exploration team mapped a significant portion of the slope and rise to the east and west of the Hudson Canyon, off New York and New Jersey.
(September - November) A team of scientists traveled to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, a remote chain of small islands and atolls, to view unexplored seamounts and map pristine coral reefs.
(August) Tribal Journeys was an event among many in a cultural resurgence among Northwest Coast Native Americans and First Nations. Staff from NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary played a small role in helping and documenting the journey as a gift to the Tribes and Nations.
The Census of Marine Life is an international research effort to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine organisms throughout the world’s oceans. Read about some of these efforts.
(August) Based on the exciting results of the 2001 mission to Heceta Bank, an exploration team used modern tools to study the submerged ancient shorelines of the U.S. northwest coast.
(July - August) Sustainable Seas was a five-year project of underwater exploration and discovery of the marine world with special emphasis on the national marine sanctuaries of the United States.
Located 20 meters beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, next to deep coral reefs in the Florida Keys, Aquarius is the world’s only undersea laboratory. Read about an essay contest and a Girl Scout project to visit the underwater habitat.
(May - June) Scientists sailed on the French research vessel Le Suroit to deploy six continuously recording hydrophones around the Mid-Atlantic Ridge north of the Azores.
(Spring) The Link Project fostered collaboration between ocean and space scientists and engineers and promoted the benefits to humankind of ocean and space exploration, research, and related technology development.
(April - October) This exploration focused on the mid-summer recovery of the Monitor's engine, a key step toward recovering of the ship's central turret. This is part of a multi-year project designed to preserve this historic Civil War vessel for future generations.
(May - August) Scientists explored coral reef and hard-bottom communities throughout the Gulf of Mexico. A special focus was the effects of currents on the life cycles and migration patterns of various species.
(June - July) A team mapped the Columbia River's offshore canyon and characterized its physical and biological systems. Astoria Canyon, the westernmost portion of the river's drainage system, is a virtually unexplored biological haven.
(August) A team improved our understanding of the sources of ocean noise by installing a vertical hydrophone array off the coast of central California.
(September) A team characterized deep-sea ecosystems from New England to Georgia with a manned submersible. The three target areas included Georges Bank Canyons, Hudson Canyon, and Blake Ridge.
(November) Laser Line Scan (LLS) is an electro-optic imaging technique designed to provide the efficiency and spatial coverage of a remote survey system, at an image resolution approaching that of visual observations. During this exploration, LLS was field tested off the California coast.
(July) The exact location of the lost Navy submarine, USS S-5, was discovered during this exploration.
(June - July) Scientists used an experimental system which was, at the time, one of only three in the world, to characterize very small-scale environments in Alaska.
(June) During this project, scientists used a new side-scan sonar system to identify shipwrecks in the historic area that became the 13th U.S. National Marine Sanctuary. More than 100 vessels are believed to rest here, but only 40 had been located prior to this mission.
Revised September 12, 2016 by the NOAA Ocean Explorer Webmaster
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