DEEP SEARCH 2018: 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

    By Erik Cordes & Caitlin Adams

    From August 19 to September 2, the DEEP SEARCH team has planned for 12 Alvin dives, indicated by red dots, in the study area. Bathymetry data collected by Okeanos Explorer on the Windows to the Deep 2018 expedition, along with some earlier Okeanos Explorer and NOAA hydrographic data, is shown in color. Other existing bathymetry data is shown in gray-scale.

    From August 19 to September 2, 2018, NOAA and partners at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the U.S. Geological Survey will conduct a research expedition on the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution-operated R/V Atlantis to collect critical baseline information about deepwater habitats offshore the U.S. Mid- and South Atlantic.

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  • Deep-Sea Corals of the Southeastern U.S.

    By Sandra Brooke

    Kiska Island, Alaska is one of the Rat Islands in the Aleutian chain.

    From the tip of Miami to North Carolina, the deep seafloor is comprised of hundreds of miles of rugged peaks, ledges, and mounds, which are scoured and swept clean of sediment by the ever-present, powerful Gulf Stream current. Deep-sea corals thrive in this cold, dark, hostile environment, creating large complex structures that provide shelter, feeding, and nursery habitat to countless other invertebrates and fishes.

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  • North Carolina Submarine Canyons

    By Cheryl Morrison

    Three-dimensional view of Keller Canyon with depths ranging from 200 to 1,600 meters. The main canyon channel carves into the continental shelf (dark red). This complex canyon has many tributary canyons.

    Carved into the shelf from North Carolina through Canada are 40 undersea canyons that may be 10 to 100 miles long, with some deeper than the Grand Canyon. The complex topography and geology in canyons provides many habitat types including steep walls, rocky outcrops, and ledges where sensitive deep-sea coral communities often live, as well as sedimented areas where additional fish and invertebrate species thrive.

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  • Cold Seeps of the U.S. Atlantic

    By Mandy Joye & Erik Cordes

    Overview of extensive chemosynthetic mussel communities colonizing carbonate and sedimented mounds at a seep site south of Norfolk Canyon.

    Cold seeps create very interesting environments that provide resources and habitat for a wide variety of creatures. Bacteria and other microbes feed directly off of the gasses released (mostly methane and hydrogen sulfide), and animals like mussels and clams that have bacterial symbionts that use these chemicals also thrive there.

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  • Eyes on the Seafloor – Using Alvin for Deep-sea Sampling

    By Jay Lunden

    Launching Alvin into the sea; note the sampling basket at the forward part of the sub with all of the sampling equipment attached.

    If you ask any marine scientist to describe their scientific bucket list, there is one item that would likely appear: a dive in the human-occupied submersible Alvin. For those of us that are fortunate enough to check this box off our lists, a dive in Alvin creates an opportunity to visit an environment most humans rarely think of, allowing us to physically visit the space that we study, collect samples, and enhance our understanding and the way that we think about the deep ocean.

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