Mission Logs

Follow along as participants in the cruise provide updates and reflections on their experiences, the science, the technology, and other elements of the expedition.


August 31

August 31: Summary Report for Leg 1 of the SEDCI 2017 Research Expedition

NOAA Ship Nancy Foster docked in St. Petersburg on August 24, culminating Leg 1 of the expedition. Team members gathered for a photo, the deck crew off-loaded ROV Odysseus, scientists organized and packed, the ship’s crew prepared for Leg 2.

August 25

August 26: Better Looking Maps Give Models Some Relief

Over the past five years, NOAA has developed regional models that predict which areas of seafloor habitat can support various types of deep-sea corals. Maps of 'habitat suitability' for these areas inform conservation and management of deep-sea corals and identify potential targets for future mapping and exploration.

August 25

August 25: Into the Belly of the Beast: An Inside Look at Nancy Foster’s Engine Room

Motoring across vast expanses of ocean requires a dedicated crew, hard work, and powerful engines. Join Tim Olsen, Chief Machinery Engineer of NOAA Ship Nancy Foster, on a tour to showcase the machinery that makes all of this work possible.

August 23

August 23: Illuminating the Deep: The ROV Odysseus

On the first leg of the Southeast Deep Coral Initiative expedition, scientists used the remotely operated vehicle Odysseus operated by Pelagic Research Services, to survey deep-sea coral ecosystems on the West Florida slope aboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster.

August 21

August 21: Making Deep-sea Coral Famous

The Southeast Deep Coral Initiative has an ally on the expedition to the West Florida slope. Ralf Meyer of the non-profit Green Fire Productions joins the team on this mission to document findings as well as the scientific process at work. Learn more about what motivates him to tell the story on film.

August 20

August 20: All Hands on Deck: Captain’s Log

The primary mission of NOAA Ship Nancy Foster is to support scientific operations and provide a platform to collect data using many different scientific methods. The ship’s company is divided into departments with different, yet equally important, functions to make the ship run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

August 19

August 19: Deep-sea Conservation in U.S. Waters

If you have been following our expedition mission logs, you know that we are striving to learn more about deep-sea coral genetic linkages and reproductive patterns. But did you also know that our mission aims to survey the seafloor to document where corals are found within areas currently considered for habitat protection in the Gulf of Mexico?

August 18

August 18: Ever Wondered How Corals Make Babies?

Corals can reproduce in a number of ways: colonies can be all male or all female, they can be hermaphroditic with males and females in the same colony, they can release eggs and sperm directly into the water, or they can brood larvae that swim or crawl to a nearby home when ready to settle and grow.

August 17

August 17: Who’s Your Coral Daddy?

Advances in genetic tools can help us understand how individuals react and adapt to environmental stress such as temperature change, ocean acidification, and pollution.

August 16

August 16: ‘Many Mounds’ Astounds

A moratorium in the eastern Gulf limited commercial exploration off the coast of Florida, where NOAA and university researchers are now surveying promising areas of deep coral habitat. The most extensively visited section of the West Florida slope is a site called “Many Mounds.” Exploration of the on the current mission was not disappointing!

August 15

August 15: You Don’t Know “Squat” ... Lobster, So Let Me Introduce You

Squat lobsters are commonly seen in the deep sea, and their characteristic claws-up pose is often a welcome sight for researchers searching for coral communities. They are the photo-bombers of the deep!

August 14

August 14: Rockin' Wall

Our expedition is equipped with a science class remotely operated vehicle (ROV) capable of exploring the deep sea. Today’s ROV dive was spectacular due to favorable weather and oceanographic conditions and due to the hard work of our mapping team and NOAA Ship Nancy Foster’s officers and crew.

August 13

August 13: Deep-sea Research: Always a Learning Experience

In an environment as challenging as the deep sea, research techniques take time and practice to produce results. Deep-sea researchers adapt to the challenges of the deep by using tools such as submarines and robots.

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