DEEP SEARCH 2019: 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, Amanda Demopoulos, and Caitlin Adams

    From April 9 to April 30, the DEEP SEARCH team will be diving daily with ROV Jason at targets indicated by yellow stars. Bathymetry data shown in full-color was collected by recent NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer missions and by the 2018 R/V Atlantis cruise. Bathymetry data shown in muted, transparent color represents the full extent of data in the region.

    From April 9 to 30, 2019, NOAA and partners at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the U.S. Geological Survey will conduct a research expedition on NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown to collect critical baseline information about deepwater habitats offshore the U.S. Mid- and South Atlantic coasts.

    Read more
  • Deep-Sea Corals of the Southeastern United States

    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.

    Read more
  • 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 16 to 160 kilometers (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.

    Read more
  • Cold Seeps of the U.S. Atlantic

    By Mandy Joye and 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 at seep sites.

    Read more