Background Information

DEEP SEARCH will target coral, canyon, and seep habitats between 30-130 miles offshore the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

Mission Plan

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.

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.

Using Sentry to Conduct the DEEP SEARCH

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.

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.

The Partnerships that Make DEEP SEARCH Possible

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.

A composite of images of deep-pelagic organisms.

DEEP SEARCH Water Column Research

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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