DEEP SEARCH: DEEP Sea Exploration to Advance Research on Coral/Canyon/Cold seep Habitats

Background Information

The essays below will help you to understand the goals and objectives of the mission and provide additional context and information about the places being explored and the science, tools, and technologies being used.

  • Mission Plan

    AUV Sentry being recovered during a recent cruise near Costa Rica.

    On this first cruise of the DEEP SEARCH program, scientists will use a combination of mapping with water column profiling and sampling to improve knowledge of the geology along the U.S. continental margin, the types of communities found on the seafloor, and the mid-water communities that interact with them.

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  • Using Sentry to Conduct the DEEP SEARCH

    AUV Sentry took this image of chemosynthetic mussel beds at Mound 12 on the Costa Rica margin on an R/V Atlantis research cruise in May 2017.

    During this expedition, scientists will use autonomous underwater vehicle Sentry to collect valuable ecological data by giving scientists a “birds-eye view” of some known sites and some completely unexplored habitats.

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  • The Partnerships that Make DEEP SEARCH Possible

    During the previous BOEM-USGS-NOAA Atlantic study, researchers explored coral habitats like this one, where a red bubblegum coral (Paragorgia) and several colonies of Primnoa occupy a boulder in close proximity to an anemone and sea star, at ~440 meters in Norfolk Canyon.

    DEEP SEARCH has been in the making for over two years now—and has been a goal for far longer than that. Representatives from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the U.S. Geological Survey, and NOAA have been busy working behind the scenes to identify resources, align research interests, and successfully launch this multi-agency, multi-year study.

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  • DEEP SEARCH Water Column Research

    A composite of images of deep-pelagic organisms.

    DEEP SEARCH scientists will use advanced hydroacoustic sensing on board NOAA Ship Pisces to determine the depths of deep-scattering layers over and around benthic habitats of interest, and will then use this information to direct net sampling to determine the species composition and quantity of organisms comprising these layers.

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