2017 Laulima O Ka Moana






Daily Updates

Access the 2017 Laulima O Ka Moana Daily Updates RSS Feed here:
2017 Laulima O Ka Moana Expedition Daily Updates
NOAA RSS 2.0 Feed

 


 



NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer docked at Ford Island.

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer docked at Ford Island. Click image for credit and larger view.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
August 2, 2017

Laulima O Ka Moana Expedition Complete

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer pulled into Pearl Harbor this morning, successfully completing and bringing the "Laulima O Ka Moana: Exploring Deep Monument Waters Around Johnston Atoll" expedition to a close. The 27-day expedition was the longest of the year and had many successes. Fifteen remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives were conducted from 250 to ~2,600 meters (820 to ~8530 feet), including 14 in the Johnston Atoll Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Mapping operations were conducted anytime the ROV was not in the water, mapping a total area approximately the size of the state of New Hampshire. Major scientific findings included documenting precious corals in the Johnston Atoll Unit for the first time and the discovery of high-density deep-sea coral and sponge communities. Over the coming weeks, the expedition team will continue processing, analyzing, and summarizing the data collected. Thanks for following along. Our next expedition, from August 8 - August 31, will focus on mapping operations within the waters of Hawaii and in international waters in the vicinity of the Musicians Seamounts chain north of Hawaii. In September, we'll be back with live dives during our final CAPSTONE expedition, as we explore the Musicians Seamounts!


 


 

 

 

The ROV team cleans the winch, getting the grease off it to prevent grit, dirt from building up during the time it's not being used in between ROV cruises.

The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) team cleans the winch, getting the grease off it to prevent grit and dirt from building up during the time the vehicle is not being used in between ROV cruises. Click image for credit and larger view.

Mapping Watchstander, Neah Baechler, edits recently acquired multibeam data in the control room on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer.

Mapping Watchstander, Neah Baechler, edits recently acquired multibeam data in the control room on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. Click image for credit and larger view.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 30 - August 1, 2017

Transit to Honolulu

After completing our final remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dive on July 29, the ship spent the night completing mapping coverage of the seamount we dove on and then started her more than 600 nautical mile journey back to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The mapping team has been busy during our three-day return transit, acquiring and processing multibeam sonar data of the seafloor and water column, subbottom profiler data beneath the seafloor, and EK60 single beam fisheries sonar data. The ROV team is preparing equipment and systems for the time they aren’t being used in between ROV cruises, working on data products, and updating standard operating procedures. Others on the mission team will be busy finalizing datasets, compiling end-of-cruise products, developing reports, and troubleshooting issues that could not be addressed during the cruise. We are nearing completion of the longest cruise of the year and all onboard are looking forward to wrapping up the expedition, getting back to land, and enjoying some well-earned time off.


 


 

 

 

This cusk eel hung out above the seafloor at about 1840 meters (6,035 feet) of depth in the glow of Deep Discoverer’s lights.

This cusk eel hung out above the seafloor at about 1,840 meters (6,035 feet) of depth in the glow of Deep Discoverer’s lights. Click image for credit and larger view.

As the vehicles arrived back at the surface after the final dive of the expedition, viewers were treated to the sight of an oceanic whitetip shark.

As the vehicles arrived back at the surface after the final dive of the expedition, viewers were treated to the sight of an oceanic whitetip shark. Click image for credit and larger view.

Dive Supervisor, Dan Rogers, rinses ROV Deep Discoverer with freshwater following the last dive of the Laulima O Ka Moana Expedition.

Dive Supervisor, Dan Rogers, rinses remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer with freshwater following the last dive of the Laulima O Ka Moana expedition. Click image for credit and larger view.

video Watch video of a sea star eating its way up a coral.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 29, 2017

Dive 15: New Seamount 8 Cone

Starting at a depth at 2,006 meters (6,851 feet), the final dive of the expedition began along the northern side of the cone and proceeded to the top. The hard bottom was composed of heavily consolidated manganese crust with some sediment pockets. The most abundant fauna observed were colonial octocorals, specifically bamboo corals. Additional octocorals observed included chrysogorgiids, primnoids, coraliids, anthothelids, paragorgiids (some whose skeletons were being overgrown by a yellow zoanthid colony), mushroom corals, and rock pens. Other cnidarians included hydroids, sea anemones, a cup coral, and several black corals. Glass sponges were the second most abundant group of animals. The most commonly encountered species was in the genus Walteria; some of these were observed with commensals, such as large isopods, shrimps, and ophiuroids. Other glass sponges included Bolosoma, Caulophacus, Dictyaulus, Poliopogon, Regadrella, and Stelodoryx. The top of the cone was revealed to host a relatively abundant community of bamboo corals, whose numbers had been gradually increasing as we ascended up the cone. Sea stars, including the rarely seen seven-armed Asthenactis sp. and several large-sized coral predators in the genus Evoplosoma, were the most noteworthy echinoderms observed during this dive. Upon reaching the top of the cone, many sea stars were observed feeding on bamboo corals. Sea urchins were only encountered at the peak and sea cucumbers were uncommon. A stalked crinoid and at least two species of feather stars, often present as commensals on corals, sponges, and rocks, were observed. Brittle stars were other common commensals. Although many small snails were observed throughout the dive, the most notable were tiny vermiform mollusks predating on bamboo corals. The numerous smaller crustaceans included squat lobsters and shrimp. Moderately sized isopods were observed living on glass sponges, as well as one living as a parasite on a large grenadier. Several arrow worms were present, as was a single swimming ribbon worm. The many fishes included grenadiers, cusk eels, cutthroat eels, and an unusual anglerfish.


 


 

 

 

A new brown morph of the slime star - pterasterid Hymenaster - was observed. This animal was greater than 10 centimeters wide and had a soft, gelatinous surface held up over its proper body surface. These stars can project mucus as a defense when harassed.

A new brown morph of the slime star – pterasterid Hymenaster – was observed. This animal was greater than 10 centimeters wide and had a soft, gelatinous surface held up over its proper body surface. These stars can project mucus as a defense when harassed. Click image for credit and larger view.

A close-up of a stalked glass sponge in the genus Caulophacus.

A close-up of a stalked glass sponge in the genus Caulophacus. Click image for credit and larger view.

Science co-lead, Chris Kelley, and NOAA Educational Partnership Program Intern, Nikola Rodriguez, are hard at work in the control room aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer.

Science co-lead, Chris Kelley, and NOAA Educational Partnership Program Intern, Nikola Rodriguez, are hard at work in the control room aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. Click image for credit and larger view.

video Watch video of a snailfish that is likely a new species.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 28, 2017

Dive 14: “Keli” Ridge - Southeast Guyot Ridge and Midwater Transects

When Deep Discoverer reached 2,555 meters (~8,380 feet), the bottom was rocky and composed of a solid, cemented surface. As the remotely operated vehicle climbed the slope, it became increasingly steep with large blocks, boulders, and craters. Sponges were the dominant fauna. The glass sponges observed included Bolosoma, Caulophacus, smaller vase sponges, and an unusual glass sponge no one had seen before. Octocorals were observed frequently and included chrysogorgiids, primnoids, isidids, and several precious corals. Black corals, a cup coral, zoanthids, hydroids, a dandelion siphonophore, and sea anemones were also present. Multiple colonies of a frond-like bryozoan were tentatively identified. Several species of sea stars were observed, including a brown morph of Hymenaster, a large Lophaster, and a new species of goniasterid. Other echinoderms were a small white urchin tentatively identified as being an “irregular urchin,” a purple crinoid, a brisingid, several feather stars, and brittle stars observed as commensals on corals and sponges. Numerous dead barnacles were present in unusual wave-shaped forms on the rock edges. Shrimps and squat lobsters were seen. One unusual fish was a likely new species of snailfish. Other fishes included several grenadiers and cusk eels. On the latter half of the dive a huge abundance of narrow, needle-like carnivorous sponges covered numerous rocky surfaces in dense but evenly spaced aggregations; abundance varied, with dense aggregations near areas of high current flow and less abundant populations away from these areas. Near the end of the benthic portion of the dive, we observed these sponges as part of a widespread community with bryozoans and zoanthids.

The midwater transects began at 800 meters (2,625 feet). The dominant fauna observed was siphonophores. Larvaceans were also common. Other animals included comb jellies, jellyfish, polychaete worms, shrimps, radiolarian colonies, and other protists. Arrow worms were frequently observed. Several fish, including juvenile eels and bristle mouths, were surveyed.


 


 

 

 

One notable cnidarian on this dive  the hydrozoan jellyfish Aegina, a small medusae which feeds on the polyps of bamboo corals.

One notable cnidarian on this dive, the hydrozoan jellyfish Aegina, is a small medusae which feeds on the polyps of bamboo corals. Click image for credit and larger view.

GFOE Video Engineer, Roland Brian, adjusts the zoom, focus and lighting on ROV Deep Discoverer’s main HD camera to obtain the best shot of a tiny jellyfish.

Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration Video Engineer Roland Brian adjusts the zoom, focus, and lighting on remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer’s main HD camera to obtain the best shot of a tiny jellyfish. Click image for credit and larger view.

video Watch video of the tiny Aegina jellyfish.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 27, 2017

Dive 13: “Sleepy Hollow” Dive Site

The guyot summit next to the cone on this site was composed primarily of large, broken pieces of manganese-encrusted rock and unconsolidated rubble, most of which appeared to be cemented together and was dusted with sediment. As the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) ascended the flank of the cone, the bottom transitioned to more consolidated manganese-encrusted pillow flows. The community on the way up the flank and in the flats next to the cone showed low diversity and abundance. However, the abundance of animals increased significantly just below the peak, where there was a relatively high density of corals, sponges, other invertebrates, and a few fishes. Colonial octocorals, including coralliids, chrysogorgiids, anthothelids, and bamboo corals were the dominant fauna. Glass sponges were also a significant group; one species was observed with commensal zoanthids. A small number of black corals, mushroom corals, anemones, sea pens, and rock pens were also observed. On the peak, the number of plexaurid sea fans dramatically increased. There were several sightings of a small jellyfish that feeds on bamboo coral polyps. The most common echinoderm was a brilliant red stalked crinoid. Various species of feather stars, ophiuroids, and snake stars were also present. Sea stars included goniasterids, benthopectinids, and a single species of Pythonaster. Sea urchins, some of which were extremely large, were also surveyed. A lobster demonstrated a pronounced escape response to the ROV. Other crustaceans included shrimps, stalked barnacles, and several squat lobsters. At least two species of snails were observed. The fish community at the site included halosaurs, cuttthroat eels, cusk eels, and grenadiers.


 


 

 

 

Black corals, like this Bathypathes, were not seen in the sedimented area where the dive began, but became more common as Deep Discoverer explored the more rocky ridge and crest.

Black corals, like this Bathypathes, were not seen in the sedimented area where the dive began, but became more common as Deep Discoverer explored the more rocky ridge and crest. Click image for credit and larger view.

Probably the most unusual animal on today’s dive was a large (10.0 cm length) brown nudibranch in the genus Bathydoris. Opisthobranchs are seldom observed from abyssal depth, making this a very unusual occurrence.

Probably the most unusual animal on today’s dive was a large (10.0 centimeters in length) brown nudibranch in the genus Bathydoris. Opisthobranchs are seldom observed from abyssal depth, making this a very unusual occurrence. Click image for credit and larger view.

Commanding Officer, CDR Eric Johnson, oversees ENS Brianna Pacheco as she navigated the ship from the aft conning station. ENS Pacheco demonstrated her navigation skills to bring a buoy thrown off the the ship around to the starboard side for retrieval. An official letter was attached to the buoy - designating her as a qualified Officer of the Deck (OOD) underway on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer! This means she possesses all the skills required to maintain a competent navigation watch, and she is thoroughly familiar with the ship, its operating and safety systems, and can effectively take care of her own safety as well as that of the ship.

Commanding Officer, CDR Eric Johnson, oversees ENS Brianna Pacheco as she navigates the ship from the aft conning station. ENS Pacheco demonstrated her navigation skills to bring a buoy thrown off the the ship around to the starboard side for retrieval. An official letter was attached to the buoy – designating her as a qualified Officer of the Deck (OOD) underway on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer! This means she possesses all the skills required to maintain a competent navigation watch, and she is thoroughly familiar with the ship, its operating and safety systems, and can effectively take care of her own safety as well as that of the ship. Click image for credit and larger view.

video Learn about the important role of sea cucumbers in the ocean bottom community in this video.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 26, 2017

Dive 12: Unnamed Seamount

Deep Discoverer (D2) transited from a saddle on the seamount up the ridge to a crest. There was a strong north-to-south current on the sandy bottom that left evenly spaced ripples in the sediment. An array of rocks was widely spread around the sandy field. Sponges were largely absent in this area. Rock pens were present, but octocorals and black corals were not. The bottom composition changed at the base of a massive boulder cliff as D2 transited upslope to the crest, which had variable substrate that contained several platforms and valleys. There was sparse fauna compared to yesterday’s dense communities, although we did observe colonial corals and stalked glass sponges. Most glass sponges were solitary, few occurred in groups. The diversity of octocorals included chrysogorgiids, bamboo corals, precious corals, and mushroom corals. Alternapathes, Bathypathes, Heteropathes, Parantipathes, and Stauropathes were the black corals at this site. Anemones were observed, including a large dark purple cerianthid – apparently lacking a tube and residing on a rock face. A single benthic ctenophore was present on the surface of a glass sponge. Of the few echinoderms, feather stars and sea cucumbers were most abundant. Both types of snake stars present on host octocoral were observed on Hemicorallium and "normal" brittle stars were found wrapped around dead glass sponge stalks. Two species of stalked crinoids were also documented. Other fauna included swimming polychaete worms, chaetognaths, swimming shrimp, a large brown side gill slug, and large sea spider that was observed feeding on an octocoral. The few fishes present were grenadiers and a halosaur. Structures thought to be protists were abundant throughout the dive, including small treelike forms, larger fan-shaped structures, tiny round capsule-like forms, and short uneven branching forms.


 


 

 

 

Farreid glass sponges are visible in the foreground of this fairly high-density sponge community found at about 2,360 meters (7,740 feet) depth. Corals were also present, but in lower abundance. Iridogorgia and bamboo coral in the background.

Farreid glass sponges are visible in the foreground of this fairly high-density sponge community found at about 2,360 meters (7,740 feet) depth. Corals were also present, but in lower abundance. Iridogorgia and bamboo coral are in the background. Click image for credit and larger view.

This pink precious Hemicorallium in the family Coralliidae, found at ~2,400 meters (~7,875 feet), had most of its tentacles drawn in.

This pink precious Hemicorallium in the family Coralliidae, found at ~2,400 meters (~7,875 feet), had most of its tentacles drawn in. Click image for credit and larger view.

NCEI’s Matt Dornback photographs a rock sample from the day’s dive. Rock samples are being collected during most dives for later age-dating and geochemical analysis to provide more information about the geologic history and age of seamounts in the Johnston Atoll Unit.

Matt Dornback, from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, photographs a rock sample from the day’s dive. Rock samples are being collected during most dives for later age-dating and geochemical analysis to provide more information about the geologic history and age of seamounts in the Johnston Atoll Unit. Click image for credit and larger view.

video Watch video of an alien-like community of glass sponges encountered during the dive.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 25, 2017

Dive 11: “Ridge” Seamount

The bottom was characterized by large boulders, cemented basalt, and rocks with a heavy manganese crust and light dusting of sediment. The dive track going upslope was on a sustained community of sponges that also included deep-sea octocorals and associated invertebrates. When Deep Discoverer reached a ridge, the current changed. Here, the community was composed almost exclusively of glass sponges and their diversity increased dramatically – some hexactinellids were unusually large. Many sponges had their concave sides directed towards the current, and a new sponge species in the genus Poliopogon was observed. Dead glass sponge skeletons were also present, sometimes in high abundance. Colonial octocorals were the second most abundant group observed and included members of the chrysogorgiids, the primnoids, coralliids, and five or six species of bamboo corals – one whip was nearly five meters tall. There were a few black corals, “stoloniferous” zoanthids, and at least two species of anemones – several small individuals covered a primnoid coral. Other notable cnidarians included small hydroids, a small benthic ctenophore on a glass sponge, a four-armed narcomedusae, and a small jellyfish. Relatively few observations of echinoderms were made during this dive and included a single stalked crinoid with hydroids on its stalk, feather stars (one with eulimid snails parasitizing it), Lophaster, a solasterid sea-star, a filter-feeding brisingid, one urchin, and two sea cucumber species. Numerous ophiuroid commensals were present on corals. Other organisms observed included shrimp, squat lobsters, small swimming polychaetes, worms of unknown affinity, and small lyrate-shaped organisms which were not identified. We saw no fish today.


 


 

 

 

Octocorals dominated the benthos at East “Wetmore” Seamount and included the stunning Iridogorgia and bamboo coral in the foreground.

Octocorals dominated the benthos at East “Wetmore” Seamount and included the stunning Iridogorgia and bamboo coral in the foreground. Click image for credit and larger view.

This Hexactinellid glass sponge was found at approximately 2,065 meters (~6,775 feet) with an associated undescribed species of Antipathes black coral.

This Hexactinellid glass sponge was found at approximately 2,065 meters (~6,775 feet) with an associated undescribed species of Antipathes black coral. Click image for credit and larger view.

video Watch video of a beautiful Iridigorgia coral seen during the dive.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 24, 2017

Dive 10: “Wetmore” Seamount East

The substrate was composed of large manganese-encrusted boulders and blocks that later gave way to cemented lava boulders and basalt; there was a light sediment overlay. Initially, a strong current came from the southeast; later, it came from the north. While the quantity of animals fluctuated in places along the crest of the ridge, the community could be described as high-density. Octocorals were the dominant fauna and included isidids, primnoids, chrysogorgiids, coralliids, Paragorgia, several species of mushroom corals, and a few sea pens. Several species of black corals observed included an undescribed species living in association with a glass sponge, zoanthids, and small anemones. Hexactinellid glass sponges were abundant, particularly Poliopogon, Caulophacus, Bolosoma, and Aspidoscopulia species. There were many associate echinoderms, such as brittle stars and crinoids. Few sea cucumbers were present, possibly due to the lack of sediment. Also observed were large purple echinothuriid urchins, an unusually small cidaroid urchin, and sea stars that included the coral predator Hippasteria. Other taxa surveyed included large patches of dead barnacles, a stone crab, squat lobsters, swimming shrimp, and small lyrate-shaped invertebrates that may have been cladorhizid demosponges. Relatively few fish were seen – only a cutthroat eel and two grenadiers. At the end of the dive, a finned octopod was briefly caught on video.


 


 

 

 

This dandelion siphonophore is the first we have observed on this expedition. Found at approximately 2,530 meters (8,300 feet), we were able to see the feeding tentacles extended around the animal like a spider web as well as the pulsating “float” which helped to keep the central body suspended.

This dandelion siphonophore is the first we have observed on this expedition. Found at approximately 2,530 meters (8,300 feet), we were able to see the feeding tentacles extended around the animal like a spider web as well as the pulsating nectophores, found just below and around the “float,” which helped to keep the central body suspended. Click image for credit and larger view.

A likely new yellow species of pheronematid, possibly Poliopogon, sponge was observed during the final minutes of the dive at approximately 2,515 meters (8,250 feet) depth.

A likely new yellow species of pheronematid, possibly Poliopogon, sponge was observed during the final minutes of the dive at approximately 2,515 meters (8,250 feet) depth. Click image for credit and larger view.

video Watch video of a predatory sponge seen during the dive.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 23, 2017

Dive 09: “Wetmore” Seamount

Remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer arrived at 2,150 meters (~7055 feet) depth on manganese-encrusted pillow lava flows, large blocks, and boulders with some patches of sediment and manganese-encrusted nodules. Fauna overall was sparse, with most species found in low abundance. The one exception was a stalked Bolosoma glass sponge. Other glass sponges were documented – including a potentially new yellow species of Poliopogon that was observed in the final minutes of the dive. A carnivorous sponge was seen using its fine spines to capture small crustaceans for food. Colonial cnidarians were observed in low abundance and included “whip” bamboo coral, Chrysogorgiids, Pleurogorgia species, and primnoids. Black corals were present, including a potentially new species. Cnidarians rounded out with a benthic dandelion siphonophore – the first so far on this cruise. Noteworthy echinoderms included the first in situ observation of an unusual “sea star-like” brittle star, a potential new species of sea star, and feather stars. Several fairly translucent deposit-feeding sea cucumbers were seen, permitting observation of sediment in their guts. Arthropod highlights included an ostracod and squat lobster. A solitary stalked tunicate, two cusk eels, and a grenadier were also present.


 


 

 

 

This bamboo coral (Calcaxonia, Primnoidae) has had its right side eaten by this sea star (Evoplosoma sp.) at about 1,510 meters (4,955 feet) on “Pierpoint” Seamount.

This bamboo coral (Calcaxonia, Primnoidae) has had its right side eaten by this sea star (Evoplosoma sp.) at about 1,510 meters (4,955 feet) on “Pierpoint” Seamount. Click image for credit and larger view.

The arthropod highlight on “Pierpoint” Seamount was this large sea spider (Collossendeidae) seen at 1,495 meters (4,905 feet).

The arthropod highlight on “Pierpoint” Seamount was this large sea spider (Collossendeidae) seen at 1,495 meters (4,905 feet). Click image for credit and larger view.

This beautiful comb jelly (ctenophore) was seen at about 600 meters (1,970 feet) depth during one of our midwater transects.

This beautiful comb jelly (ctenophore) was seen at about 600 meters (1,970 feet) depth during one of our midwater transects. Click image for credit and larger view.

video Learn about predatory tunicates in this video.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 22, 2017

Dive 08: “Pierpoint” Seamount

At 1,600 meters (~5,250 feet) depth, the hard bottom was mostly covered by a lightly sedimented manganese crust. Fauna was relatively sparse throughout the dive. Octocorals appeared to be the dominant fauna and included chrysogorgiids, bamboo corals, primnoids, Victogorgia, a plexaurid, and bubblegum corals – most of the latter were overgrown with a yellow zoanthid. Black corals included Bathypathes, Stauropathes, Trissopathes, Alternatipathes, and a potential record of a juvenile unidentified schizopathid that was small and unbranched. Several soft corals were also observed. An unusual benthic, predatory jellyfish appeared on a moderately sized bamboo coral. Other benthic animals included several predatory tunicates, several species of stalked glass sponges, and stalked crinoids. Predation by sea stars was a highlight of the dive, with numerous observations of them feeding on corals. Other non-predatory asteroids seen on the substrate were a possibly new, red pedicellasterid, several individuals of Zoroaster sp., brisingids, and a few other goniasterids. Arthropods were not particularly abundant, but those observed included large stalked barnacles, a homolid crab, shrimps, several squat lobster commensals associated with octocorals, and a large sea spider. The only fishes observed were a few cutthroat eels.

A series of midwater transects began at a depth 800 meters (~2,625 feet). Midwater fauna observed included both pelagic metazoans and protists. Among the most abundant were siphonophores, colonial gelatinous hydrozoans, numerous medusae, comb jellies, and salps. Larvaceans and their mucous houses and arrow worms (chaetognaths) were observed with some frequency. Midwater fishes included a sawtooth eel, a slender fangjaw, and a hatchet fish.


 


 

 

 

Engaging and educating the public about the value of ocean exploration is a key part of the OER mission. During today’s dive, GFOE Engineer, Chris Ritter (left), OER Expedition Manager, Kelley Elliott (middle), and CAPSTONE Science Advisor/UH HURL Program Biologist, Chris Kelley (right), conducted a live interaction with about 20 visitors at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, CA.

Engaging and educating the public about the value of ocean exploration is a key part of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) mission. During today’s dive, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration Engineer, Chris Ritter (left), OER Expedition Manager, Kelley Elliott (middle), and CAPSTONE Science Advisor/Hawai'i Undersea Research Lab Program Biologist, Chris Kelley (right), conducted a live interaction with about 20 visitors at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, California. Click image for credit and larger view.

This large goniasterid Calliaster, a coral predator, was observed in feeding position - notice it has extended its cardiac stomach over its precious coral prey.

This large goniasterid Calliaster, a coral predator, was observed in feeding position – notice it has extended its cardiac stomach over its precious coral prey. Click image for credit and larger view.

We encountered a blocky pinnacle region composed of heavy manganese-crusted basalt blocks with a high density of colonial cnidarians, stalked sponges, and their associated faunas. This area was composed of steep walls, several valleys, and strikingly acute features where current flow seemed accelerated.  The community had several large and very tall precious coral Hemicorallium species, some overgrown by yellow zoanthids. Other cnidarians included the chrysogorgiid Chrysogorgia sp, a white species of Paragorgia, stoloniferans, corallimorpharians, and several zoanthids proliferating over a wide rocky surface. Also observed were bright white glass sponges.

We encountered a blocky pinnacle region composed of heavy manganese-crusted basalt blocks with a high density of colonial cnidarians, stalked sponges, and their associated faunas. This area was composed of steep walls, several valleys, and strikingly acute features where current flow seemed accelerated. The community had several large and very tall precious coral Hemicorallium species, some overgrown by yellow zoanthids. Other cnidarians included the chrysogorgiid Chrysogorgia sp, a white species of Paragorgia, stoloniferans, corallimorpharians, and several zoanthids proliferating over a wide rocky surface. Also observed were bright white glass sponges. Click image for credit and larger view.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 21, 2017

Dive 07: “Edmondson” Seamount

The dive began at a depth of 1,260 meters (~4,135 feet) on rocky, manganese-encrusted basalt bedrock, boulders, and some sediment cover. While sparsely populated, there were several colonies of primnoid octocoral regularly observed with an orange brittle star associate. Other octocorals at the landing site included a few colonies of Hemicorallium precious coral; a tall, “whip” bamboo coral with a large flytrap anemone on its tip; and a colony of Victogorgia nuttingi with an brittle star and pedunculate barnacles. A synallactid sea cucumber was the only echinoderm observed. Further up the dive track we encountered a blocky pinnacle region with a higher-density invertebrate community dominated by often large and tall Hemicorallium, with some colonies partially overgrown by yellow zoanthids. Other cnidarians included Chrysogorgia, a white species of Paragorgia, stoloniferans, corallimorpharians, and zoanthids. The largest colonial cnidarian, however, was a hydrozoan colony that was over two meters (6.6 feet) tall and three meters (9.8 feet) wide that harbored many commensals. Several swimming shrimps and hermit crabs passed by the remotely operated vehicle. Different species of goniasterid sea stars were observed predating on corals – one had its stomach over its prey. Other echinoderms included two white echinothuriid urchins, several large feather stars, numerous brittle stars, and a sea cucumber which may be in the family Laetmogonidae. Sponges included two species of euplectellid glass sponges, several small unidentified spherical sponges, and an undescribed glass sponge tentatively identified as a tretodictyid species with commensal sea anemones or zoanthids growing throughout its branches. Fish included several cusk eels, two species of grenadiers, and a large angler fish.


 


 

 

 

Map showing the bathymetry data acquired during our July 2017 cruise in the vicinity of “Keli” Ridge and “Edmondson” Seamount. Data collection efforts over several days were designed to complement previous data acquired by R/V Falkor in 2016 and Okeanos Explorer in 2015. Previously acquired datasets are shown as grayscale, and the data acquired this cruise is shows as color bathymetry.

Map showing the bathymetry data acquired during our July 2017 cruise in the vicinity of “Keli” Ridge and “Edmondson” Seamount. Data collection efforts over several days were designed to complement previous data acquired by R/V Falkor in 2016 and Okeanos Explorer in 2015. Previously acquired datasets are shown as grayscale, and the data acquired this cruise is shown as color bathymetry. Click image for credit and larger view.

3D perspective view of high resolution bathymetric data in the vicinity of “Keli” ridge. Data collected by R/V Falkor in 2016, and by NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in 2015 and 2017. Mapping conducted 19-21 July 2017 show “Keli” ridge, “Edmondson” Seamount and an unnamed seamount to the west are geologically connected.

Three-dimensional perspective view of high-resolution bathymetric data in the vicinity of “Keli” ridge; data collected by R/V Falkor in 2016 and by NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in 2015 and 2017. Mapping conducted July 19-21, 2017 shows “Keli” ridge, “Edmondson” Seamount, and an unnamed seamount to the west are geologically connected. Click image for credit and larger view.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 20, 2017

Mapping Operations

Today’s dive was again cancelled as the remotely operated vehicle team completed repairs to the .68 cable in preparation for tomorrow’s dive. The onboard mapping team was prepared to collect data for the scientific community. Due to the remoteness of its location, mapping data of the remote parts of the Johnston Atoll Unit have been very hard to get. Only limited data sets are available in the area, apart from occasional transit data and data acquired by NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in 2015 and R/V Falkor in 2016 as part of CAPSTONE. The ship spent the day completing mapping an unnamed seamount located to the west of “Keli” Ridge and acquiring data to spatially connect the earlier datasets from Falkor and Okeanos. The data revealed a seamount with its top at depth of 2,000 meters (6,561 feet), and the combined bathymetry showed that “Keli” Ridge and the two seamounts to the west – an unnamed seamount and “Edmondson” seamount – are geologically connected. After completion of mapping in this area, the ship transited west to begin mapping of another unnamed seamount.


 


 

 

 

A short between the conductors in the .68 cable, located 2850m up the cable, caused a power loss to the vehicles yesterday. The damage could not be repaired so the ROV team used the day to plan and spool the cable off the storage drum, manually lay roughly 2900 meters of cable onto the deck, and cut out the damaged section. The remaining cable was found to be in acceptable condition and will be re-terminated to continue operations.

A short between the conductors in the .68 cable, located 2,850 meters (9,350 feet) up the cable, caused a power loss to the vehicles yesterday. The damage could not be repaired so the remotely operated vehicle team used the day to plan and spool the cable off the storage drum, manually lay roughly 2,900 meters (9,514 feet) of cable onto the deck and cut out the damaged section. The remaining cable was found to be in acceptable condition and will be re-terminated to continue operations. Click image for credit and larger view.

Image showing the first cut of the .68 cable, at 2700 meters. The three layers of steel are peeled back to expose the black core containing three electrical conductors (brown and green twisted), three fibers (black, red, and white with yellow end), and drain wire (curled white). The Fiber Response Team performed a quick termination on one fiber and confirmed that the short was an additional 150 meters up the cable.

Image showing the first cut of the .68 cable, at 2,700 meters (8,858 feet). The three layers of steel are peeled back to expose the black core containing three electrical conductors (brown and green twisted), three fibers (black, red, and white with yellow end), and drain wire (curled white). The Fiber Response Team performed a quick termination on one fiber and confirmed that the short was an additional 150 meters (492 feet) up the cable. Click image for credit and larger view.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 19, 2017

Cable Repairs and Seamount Mapping

Remotely operated vehicle (ROV) operations were cancelled today while the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration engineering team initiated a herculean effort to repair the .68 cable. After power was lost to the vehicles yesterday, our ROV team spent the evening investigating the cause and found a short between the conductors, located 2,850 meters (9,350 feet) up the cable from the end terminated to the ROV. The short was likely caused by age and natural degradation, and unfortunately the damage can’t be repaired. The solution is to remove the length of cable up to and including the damaged section. Today, the ROV team used the entire day to plan and spool the cable off the storage drum, manually lay roughly 2,900 meters (9,514 feet) of cable onto the deck, and cut out the damaged section. By the end of the day, they were able to access the damaged section and test the remaining cable on the storage drum. The conductors and fibers were tested and found to be in acceptable condition for re-terminating and continuing operations. Tomorrow the team will re-terminate the wire to Seirios, conduct testing and be ready to dive the next day.

Meanwhile, the mapping team used the lemons (extra time they were given) to make lemonade. The added mapping time was used to further map the unnamed seamount to the west of “Keli” Ridge and to complete tests to improve the backscatter results of multibeam sonar.


 


 

 

 

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Operations Officer, LT Aaron Colohon, shakes Commanding Officer, CDR Eric Johnson’s hand following successful recovery of the ROV. All power and communications to the vehicle were lost during the dive, making recovery more complicated than usual. Next to them, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration ROV Dive Supervisor, Dan Rogers, oversees operations on the aft deck following recovery.

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Operations Officer, LT Aaron Colohon, shakes Commanding Officer, CDR Eric Johnson’s hand following successful recovery of the remotely operated vehicle (ROV). All power and communications to the vehicle were lost during the dive, making recovery more complicated than usual. Next to them, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration ROV Dive Supervisor, Dan Rogers, oversees operations on the aft deck following recovery. Click image for credit and larger view.

video Watch video of cusk eels seen during the dive.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 18, 2017

Dive 06: "Keli" Ridge

Out at sea, some days are better than others. Today was one of the more challenging days. We had a delayed start to remotely operated vehicle (ROV) deployment as a squall passed over. After safely getting the vehicles in the water and doing the pre-dive briefing, the onboard team conducted a live interaction with guests at the Exploration Command Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. Once the ROV arrived on bottom, science operations commenced. However during the first hour, the live video feeds to shore went down. Technicians at sea and on shore quickly rallied to troubleshoot and resolve the issue and successfully brought the feeds online within a few hours. Just as the video feeds were brought online, a separate issue caused a loss of power and communication to the vehicles, resulting in immediate cancellation of the dive and vehicle recovery. Once the vehicles were safely recovered, the engineering team spent the night troubleshooting and repairing the vehicles. The team will spent the remainder of the day and night mapping a seamount to the west of “Keli” Ridge.


 


 

 

 

Potential new species of black coral that was collected.

Potential new species of black coral that was collected. Click image for credit and larger view.

Undescribed species of comb jelly identified by Dhugal Lindsay as Intacta.

Undescribed species of comb jelly identified by Dhugal Lindsay as "Intacta." Click image for credit and larger view.

video Watch video of a large scale worm seen during the dive.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 17, 2017

Dive 05: "Sally" Seamount

Today, Deep Discoverer explored the north ridge of a guyot-like feature, traversing to its plateau. The dive began at a depth of approximately 2,170 meters (~7,120 feet) on manganese-encrusted rocky substrate with light colored sediment. We observed numerous dead bamboo coral and glass sponge skeletons, prompting a discussion of whether this was natural mortality or a catastrophic event. Numerous octocorals (primnoids, bamboo corals, and Chrysogorgiids) and black corals were encountered throughout the survey region. Several large, well-developed, older-looking bamboo corals formed moderately abundant patches on elevated mounds of pillow lava. Two aplacophorans, worm-like mollusks, were observed on the barren areas, suggesting predation, whereas elsewhere on the colony, benthic ctenophores were perched, passively fishing for zooplankton. Several unidentified species of cup corals were also documented. Potential new species of bamboo and black coral were collected. Many species of moderate to large-sized glass sponges were documented, and one unusual glass sponge was collected. Echinoderms included a large Henricia sea star, several brittle stars, a swimming sea cucumber, a juvenile transparent slime star, one sea urchin, and several species of feather stars. A small individual feather star displayed a disproportionately large eulimid snail. Other invertebrates included the long-legged shrimp and a swimming large purple polychaete. Fishes observed on the benthic portion of the dive were few and included an unidentified grenadier and a cusk eel.

Midwater surveys were conducted during ascent, starting at a depth of 900 meters (~2,950 feet). Among the most striking of the midwater animals encountered was an undescribed comb jelly, a bristle mouth fish, a swimming cusk eel, several vertically positioned sawtooth eels, and a hatchet fish. Other interesting observations included larvacean houses and a bizarre three- to four-armed glassine protist, numerous hydrozoan jellyfish, a hyperiid amphipod, and several salps.


 


 

 

 

Mapping Watchstander, Neah Baechler, prepares to put the expendable bathythermograph (XBT) equipment away after deploying an XBT. XBTs are launched every ~2-6 hours to acquire temperature  data of the water column down to 760m. These data are used to estimate water column refraction required for multibeam sonar data.

Mapping Watchstander, Neah Baechler, prepares to put the expendable bathythermograph (XBT) equipment away after deploying an XBT. XBTs are launched every ~2-6 hours to acquire temperature data of the water column down to 760 meters (2,493 feet). These data are used to estimate water column refraction required for multibeam sonar data. Click image for credit and larger view.

Expedition Mapping Lead, Mashkoor Malik, works on planning the mapping lines the ship will run today since the weather is too poor to dive. Behind him, Survey Technician Charlie Wilkins edits recently acquired multibeam data.

Expedition Mapping Lead, Mashkoor Malik, works on planning the mapping lines the ship will run today since the weather is too poor to dive. Behind him, Survey Technician Charlie Wilkins edits recently acquired multibeam data. Click image for credit and larger view.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 16, 2017

Seamount Mapping

Today's remotely operated vehicle dive was cancelled due to high sea state, wind conditions, and shifting currents around Johnston Atoll. Instead, the team spent the day conducting mapping operations to add multibeam coverage to seamounts mapped by NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in 2015. New data were collected over ridge features extending northeast from Keli Ridge, resulting in a nearly complete map of the feature. Data were also acquired over top of a seamount to the east and resulted in a complete map of this unnamed seamount – providing new data and insights on the many seamounts and ridges in the Johnston Atoll Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.


 


 

 

 

 Dense bed of glass sponges (Farrea nr occa?) covering the vertical face of a large block.

Dense bed of glass sponges (Farrea nr occa?) covering the vertical face of a large block. Click image for credit and larger view.

Karstic carbonate formations where numerous colonies of the precious red coral (Hemicorallium sp.) were discovered.

Karstic carbonate formations where numerous colonies of the precious red coral (Hemicorallium sp.) were discovered. Click image for credit and larger view.

A rare observation of the seastar Gilbertaster anacanthus.

A rare observation of the sea star Gilbertaster anacanthus. Click image for credit and larger view.

video Watch video of an octocoral and zoanthids.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 15, 2017

Dive 04: Johnston Atoll Dive

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer deployed remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer (D2) to a depth of 600 meters (~1,970 feet) where numerous black coral, yellow Acanthogorgia, and Metallogorgia colonies were observed. Cup corals (single polyp scleractinians) were also seen that persisted throughout the dive. Shortly after leaving the landing site, D2 encountered karstic rock formations in an area of high currents. Colonial cnidarians dominated this area. Most importantly, we observed the precious coral Hemicorallium, one of the dive’s primary objectives. First encountered in low abundance, these corals increased significantly when D2 was in an area with high currents and large carbonate blocks; some colonies were large, approximately one meter across. Further upslope, the community transitioned to mostly scleractinian coral, including some “graveyards” – dead coral skeletons that had fallen to the bottom of the slope. In an area with significant current flow, the substrate was covered with several different octocorals, antipatharians, and sponges. Several sea stars were present, including pentagonal “cookie stars” and a new record of a rarely seen Gilbertaster anacanthus. We also observed the goniasterid Circeaster pullus, a known corallivore feeding on the precious coral Hemicorallum for the first time. On two occasions, we observed large blocks with one side covered by glass sponges and the other covered colonies Acanthogorgia colonies. Also observed were two unusual communities of highly abundant and dense micro-invertebrates, one dominated by thin tube-like projections with a “fuzzy” appearance and another by tiny, white zoanthids. Crustaceans included a brachyuran inachid crab with extremely long legs and claws, hermit crabs with sea anemones instead of shells, and small xanthid crabs. Two other unusual invertebrate groups observed included a benthic ctenophore and numerous small white lamp shells with longitudinal notches along each valve. Various fishes were also documented: a ray, deep water cardinal fishes, scorpion fish, channeled rockfish, a few basslets, a spike fish, and two observations of a commercially valuable snapper.


 


 

 

 

The dive started on a flat bottom of moderately large manganese nodules covering a lighter-colored sediment primarily occupied by large hexactinellid sponges approximately .5 to 1 meter tall.

The dive started on a flat bottom of moderately large manganese nodules covering a lighter-colored sediment primarily occupied by large hexactinellid sponges approximately 0.5 to 1 meter tall. Click image for credit and larger view.

A highlight of the midwater transects were the numerous larvacean houses observed, many with the original larvacean present.

A highlight of the midwater transects were the numerous larvacean houses observed, many with the original larvacean present. Click image for credit and larger view.

video Watch video of a rarely seen sorceress eel was observed during the dive.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 14, 2017

Dive 03: Unnamed Seamount North of Johnston Atoll

Remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer (D2) arrived on a flat bottom of moderately large manganese nodules covering a lighter-colored sediment at 2,571 meters (~8,435 feet) depth. The area was primarily occupied by large hexactinellid sponges. We also observed a hermit crab with multiple zoanthids instead of a shell, smaller “goblet” sponges, and a black coral that had “cleaned” the organic detritus off the manganese nodules in a circle around it. As we moved further upslope, the substrate transitioned to a steeper, more consolidated rock that included manganese-crusted basalt pillows, boulders, and cemented sediment. Megafauna abundance increased – sea anemones and various corals, including chrysogorgiids, were observed. A crinoid was observed whose stalk was covered with hydroids and whose cup had what appeared to be a small eulimid snail attached, possibly parasitizing the crinoid. A second stalked crinoid displayed only four arms but had a eulimid snail attached onto the stump where the fifth arm was originally present. Other animals included a swimming sea cucumber as well as several ophiuroids. A potentially new sea cucumber with a translucent body wall was collected. A new record of Chyrsogorgia, which had been previously known from the East Pacific, was also collected along with its associates, including a squat lobster, amphipods, and several small polychaetes. A striking observation was the swimming/escape behavior from a black cerianthid tube anemone which D2 attempted to collect; it moved away from the manipulator arm. Following the end of the benthic segment of the dive, we undertook a set of midwater transects beginning at 800 meters (~2625 feet). A total of six transect depths was undertaken at 100-meter (~330-foot) intervals. We observed numerous larvacean houses, many with the original larvacean present. Other highlights included narcomedusae (genus Bathykorus), hydromedusae, and an opaque reddish jellyfish in the genus Periphyllopsis. Fish diversity included a hatchet fish, bristlemouths (Cyclothone) and a Sawtooth eel.


 


 

 

 

Onboard Science Leads Drs. Chris Mah and Chris Kelley, and NOAA EPP Intern Nikola Rodriguez, discuss and take a closer look at deepwater habitats explored with ROV Deep Discoverer on Horizon Guyot.

Onboard science leads Drs. Chris Mah and Chris Kelley and NOAA Educational Partnership Program Intern Nikola Rodriguez discuss and take a closer look at deepwater habitats explored with remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer on Horizon Guyot. Click image for credit and larger view.

A large spatangoid urchin with prominent spines was observed in conjunction with sediment traces on a large sediment bed.

A large spatangoid urchin with prominent spines was observed in conjunction with sediment traces on a large sediment bed. Click image for credit and larger view.

video Watch a video about the glass sponges seen during the dive.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 13, 2017

Dive 02: Horizon Guyot

Horizon Guyot is a manganese-encrusted seamount located north of Johnston Atoll. This site was selected to gain a better understanding of manganese-crust communities. After a delayed start due to a dynamic positioning system issue, Deep Discoverer (D2) arrived on the seafloor at 1,930 meters (~6,330 feet). The substrate was mixed rock consisting primarily of manganese-covered boulders and cobbles with a predominantly thin layer of sediment. The general topography was relatively flat with a community dominated by several species of hexactinellid sponges, many with associates including brittle stars, small squat lobsters, and hydroids. Feather stars were present on the tops of several standing dead or inert glass sponge stalks. Several octocorals and black corals were present in lower abundance, including bamboo corals, primnoids, “mushroom” soft corals, cup corals, chrysogorgiids, and a stoloniferan. Stalked crinoids and ophiuroids were also observed as commensals on both octocorals and glass sponges, and a very large ophiurid was seen on a sandy bottom. Other observations included a spatangoid urchin on a large sediment bed; a synallactid sea cucumber; two freyellid brisingid sea stars on dead sponge stalks; and one fish – a rarely observed cutthroat eel in the family Synaphobranchidae.


 


 

 

 

The crew leveraged the extra time during our transit to conduct a man-overboard safety drill and train new personnel. Here, the ship is maneuvered to recover a buoy thrown overboard and used as practice to test man overboard recovery skills.

The crew leveraged the extra time during our transit to conduct a man-overboard safety drill and train new personnel. Here, the ship is maneuvered to recover a buoy thrown overboard and used as practice to test man-overboard recovery skills. Click image for credit and larger view.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 12, 2017

Day 6: Underway Transit Mapping

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer continued underway transit mapping to the first dive site planned in the Johnston Atoll Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Onboard, personnel continued troubleshooting an internet connectivity issue, conducted training and maintenance, and prepared for our next remotely operated vehicle dive. The team also leveraged the transit day to conduct a safety drill and do some education and outreach. We conducted a Facebook Live event in the morning to share information about the expedition and answer questions from the public, and we closed out the day with a presentation on systematics and naming a new species from Science Lead Dr. Chris Mah.


 


 

 

 

With approximately 95 percent of the ocean unexplored, the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research pursues every opportunity to map, sample, explore, and survey at planned destinations as well as during transits; 'Always Exploring' is a guiding principle. Mapping data is collected at all times when the ship is transiting and underway. This image shows the multibeam bathymetry data acquired during the ship's transit west from Oahu to the Johnston Atoll Unit.

With approximately 95 percent of the ocean unexplored, the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research pursues every opportunity to map, sample, explore, and survey at planned destinations as well as during transits; "Always Exploring" is a guiding principle. Mapping data is collected at all times when the ship is transiting and underway. This image shows the multibeam bathymetry data acquired during the ship's transit west from Oahu to the Johnston Atoll Unit. Click image for credit and larger view.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 11, 2017

Day 5: Transit to the Johnston Atoll Unit

Underway mapping was conducted today as the ship continued transiting to the Johnston Atoll Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument for the first dive of the expedition. The transit to the first dive site is about 600 nautical miles and is expected to take about 2.5 days, depending on transit speed. The onboard team used the transit day to work on various tasks, including training new personnel, writing standard operating procedures (SOPs), cleaning and maintaining equipment, troubleshooting minor issues, and preparing for the next dive.


 


 

 

 

Image of the starboard aft deck of NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer leaving Oahu and beginning a more than two-day transit to the Johnston Atoll Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.

Image of the starboard aft deck of NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer leaving Oahu and beginning a more than two-day transit to the Johnston Atoll Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Click image for credit and larger view.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 10, 2017

Day 4: Shakedown Operations Offshore of Oahu

The seagoing expedition team completed the last day of shakedown operations today offshore of Oahu. The day started with a final round of dynamic positioning system testing and training was in the morning, followed by a shakedown remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dive during the afternoon. The "shakedown" or engineering dive provided the pilots a chance to test sensors, cameras, and other important components of the vehicles; train new personnel; and test new techniques without the normal pressures of a science-focused dive. After a successful shakedown dive, the small boat was deployed to conduct a personnel transfer. With all personnel safely onboard, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer is now underway and making her way to the Johnston Atoll Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. We will spend the next two days conducting transit mapping operations and expect to conduct our first ROV dive in the Monument on July 13.


 


 

 

 

Kongsberg DP Technician, Michael Neal, verifies input signals to the ship's dynamic positioning system after upgrades were made during the ship's dry dock period.

Kongsberg DP Technician, Michael Neal, verifies input signals to the ship's dynamic positioning system after upgrades were made during the ship's dry dock period. Click image for credit and larger view.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 9, 2017

Day 3: Shakedown Operations Offshore of Oahu

The Laulima O Ka Moana expedition team continues shakedown operations offshore of Oahu. Today's operations focused on calibrating the Ultra Short Base Line (USBL) acoustic navigation system – a system that uses sonar to track and record the position of the remotely operated vehicles at depth relative to the ship during a dive. In the afternoon, a test CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, Depth) cast was conducted down to 760 meters (2,493 feet) to compare data against an expendable bathythermograph (XBT) cast that was also conducted. However, during the upcast, the connection to the CTD failed. In the evening, additional Dynamic Positioning testing and training was conducted with onboard personnel. Overnight operations will include running a test survey with the multibeam sonar.


 


 

 

 

Learn more about what a multibeam patch test is and what it consists of by reviewing this poster developed by Okeanos Explorer mapping interns in 2010.

Learn more about what a multibeam patch test is and what it consists of by reviewing this poster developed by Okeanos Explorer mapping interns in 2010. Click image for credit and larger view.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 8, 2017

Day 2: Shakedown Operations Offshore of Oahu

The Laulima O Ka Moana Expedition team is offshore of Oahu continuing shakedown operations. Today's operations focused on testing upgrades to the ship's Dynamic Positioning system – a key capability that allows the ship to precisely hold station while conducting remotely operated vehicle dives or other operations. Overnight, the mapping team conducted a test mapping survey and processed and analyzed the results from the multibeam patch test.


 


 

 

 

Picture of the sailing board on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer showing the date and time of departure for the next cruise, and the time by which all personnel who are sailing need to be physically on board the ship to sail. Cruise EX-17-06 departed on time at 0900 on Friday, July 7th as planned.

Picture of the sailing board on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer showing the date and time of departure for the next cruise and the time by which all personnel who are sailing need to be physically on board the ship to sail. Cruise EX-17-06 departed on time at 0900 on Friday, July 7, as planned. Click image for credit and larger view.

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer pulls away from the Fuel Pier and prepares to depart Pearl Harbor to commence part I of the Laulima O Ka Moana Expedition - shakedown operations offshore of Oahu.

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer pulls away from the fuel pier and prepares to depart Pearl Harbor to commence Part I of the Laulima O Ka Moana Expedition – shakedown operations offshore of Oahu. Click image for credit and larger view.

 


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
July 7, 2017

Day 1: Laulima O Ka Moana: Exploring Deep Monument Waters Around Johnston Atoll Expedition Is Underway!

The "Laulima O Ka Moana: Exploring Deep Monument Waters Around Johnston Atoll" expedition started today! NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer left the dock in Honolulu, Hawaii, this morning to make the first and most important stop of the expedition – the fuel pier – where she spent most of the day fueling up for the more than 2,000 nautical mile journey ahead. The team departed Pearl Harbor in the evening to start shakedown operations after recently completing dry dock maintenance and upgrades. Overnight activities included calibrating the ship’s GAMS system (which provides a heading calibration) and both Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers and starting a multibeam patch test to calibrate and test the accuracy and quality of the multibeam sonar.


 


 

 

 

 

 

(top)

Sign up for the Ocean Explorer Email Update List.

Back to Top