NOAA Ocean Exploration supports research expeditions to explore previously unvisited areas of the ocean. We provide partnership coordination, funding, staff, tools, and expertise needed to develop mission plans that deliver rigorous, systematic observations and documentation of biological, chemical, physical, geological, and archaeological aspects of the ocean. Follow NOAA Ocean Exploration-supported expeditions, including those on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, while they are underway or trace the activities and discoveries of past expeditions by clicking on the expedition-specific links below. For each expedition, you'll find information ranging from expedition plans and feature stories, to educational materials and expedition daily updates, videos, and images.
Expeditions that took place prior to 2010 are archived here.
In 2022, a multi-institutional team of scientists and engineers completed a NOAA Ocean Exploration grant-funded project that focused on developing a sophisticated “co-exploration model” of human-robot interaction as a means of advancing and accelerating autonomous ocean exploration.
In 2021, scientists and engineers at the Ocean Engineering Department of University of Rhode Island successfully developed and demonstrated a novel soft robotic system for underwater exploration with support from NOAA Ocean Exploration.
From October 16 - November 3, 2022, NOAA Ocean Exploration will conduct an exploratory expedition to increase mapping coverage in unexplored regions off the coasts of California and Oregon, with a focus on waters deeper than 200 meters (656 feet). The expedition will commence with a transit northwest from San Diego, California, in order to reach target areas for mapping in a small region south of the Channel Islands and off the west coasts of California and Oregon. The expedition team will conduct 24-hour-a-day exploratory mapping operations to fill priority mapping gaps and will also conduct a detailed sub-bottom survey of a sponge reef south of the Channel Islands. The expedition will conclude in Newport, Oregon, marking the end of operations on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer for the 2022 calendar year.
From July 31-August 12, 2022, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and NOAA Ocean Exploration explored a site on the Blake Plateau offshore of the Georgia coast. The specific purpose of the expedition was to better understand the long-term environmental impacts on the seafloor of experimental deep-sea resource-extraction technologies used at the site in the 1970s and generally any implications for potential similar deep-sea activities.
Between May 26 - June 14, 2022, a team of scientists will explore Escanaba Trough, about 200 miles off the coast of northern California, in order to characterize the hydrothermal sulfide system within the trough.
In 2018, scientists developed and successfully tested advanced equipment for collecting water samples at great ocean depths while accounting for the impacts of pressure and temperature on deep-sea microbes found in such an environment.
From May 23 - June 3, an expedition team will use autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to explore Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. They will generate large datasets for training and validating machine learning models for shipwreck detection using sonar imagery.
From May 15 - June 4, a team of Indigenous Alaskans, local community members, and scientists will explore the continental shelf west of Prince of Wales Island in southeast Alaska. Their goal is to locate submerged cave and rock shelter entrances that would have been accessible to early inhabitants of the region.
May through August 2022, NOAA and partners will conduct Voyage to the Ridge 2022, a series of three telepresence-enabled ocean exploration expeditions on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer that will include mapping operations and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives to collect baseline information about unexplored and poorly understood deepwater areas of the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and Azores Plateau.
To understand how deep-sea corals respond to changes in ocean conditions such as ocean warming, deoxygenation, and acidification, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Florida State University, and Florida Atlantic University carried out two expeditions on Research Vessel (R/V) Point Sur in October 2019 and on R/V Hogarth in September 2020. In total, they conducted five remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives with ROV Global Explorer across deep coral mounds on the West Florida Slope of the Gulf of Mexico.
From October 1 to 10, 2019, scientists from three institutions - Florida State University, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science - sailed on Research Vessel Point Sur in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
From May 1 - 14, 2022, scientists from the Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute will conduct an expedition to explore coral and sponge habitats within Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and nearby areas in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico in order to assess their potential for biopharmaceutical products.
From April 7 - May 1, as part of the Luʻuaeaahikiikekumu - Ancient Seamounts of Liliʻuokalani Ridge expedition on Ocean Exploration Trust’s Exploration Vessel Nautilus, a team of researchers will explore seamounts of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to provide baseline information about the mineral resource potential of the seamounts and the animals and microbes that live on them in order to inform management and conservation of the area.
From April 6 - 19, a team of researchers used emerging technologies to explore deepwater habitats off the coast of Puerto Rico that are poorly explored, yet likely host a wide variety of marine life, including commercially important species and species new to science.
April 4 - 28, NOAA Ocean Exploration led an expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. The two-fold purpose of this expedition is to fill mapping gaps in the Atlantic’s U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone and test deep-sea camera operations.
Between March and October, Ocean Exploration Trust will use Exploration Vessel Nautilus to explore the waters of the central Pacific Ocean near the Hawaiian Islands, in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, and in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
From March 10 - 28, 2022, NOAA Ocean Exploration conducted an exploratory ocean mapping expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer focused on U.S. waters south of Puerto Rico generally deeper than 200 meters (656 feet).
In preparation for our 2022 field season, NOAA Ocean Exploration conducted a “shake down” of the mission systems on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in the Gulf of Mexico and the western Straits of Florida February 23-March 3, 2022.
From February 24-March 11, 2022, a team of researchers explored the waters off Tinian and Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands to locate and document U.S. warplanes lost during World War II.
In 2022, NOAA Ocean Exploration will spend more than 200 days at sea while exploring two ocean basins. From February through early August, NOAA Ocean Exploration will continue operations in the deep waters of the North Atlantic Ocean on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. After we wrap up our work in the Atlantic, we’ll transit through the Panama Canal and kick off our return to the Pacific with a series of expeditions along the U.S. West Coast this fall.
From November 14 - December 6, 2021, as part of the Luʻuaeahikiikapapakū - Ancient Volcanoes in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument expedition on Exploration Vessel Nautilus, a team of researchers examined microbial ecosystem services and microbe-mineral interactions on the seamounts of the monument to provide baseline information about the mineral resource potential of the seamounts and the animals that live on them in order to inform management and conservation of the area.
From October 26 to November 15, NOAA Ocean Exploration and partners conducted a telepresence-enabled ocean exploration expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical information about unexplored and poorly understood deepwater areas of the Blake Plateau region of the North Atlantic Ocean.
From September 25 - October 5, 2021, the project team conducted geophysical surveys aboard the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Research Vessel Bob and Betty Beyster, focusing on regions of the eastern Pacific continental shelf that contain tar seeps, paleochannel, and possible paleoestuaries.
This expedition included mapping the Alpena-Amberley Ridge within Lake Huron to identify potential archaeological or paleoenvironmental sites for further investigation with a remotely operated vehicle and divers in order to create a virtual reality reconstruction of the area when it was dryland and occupied by early humans.
This underwater archaeological investigation of the Paleo-Suwannee River channel and its surroundings is expected to yield critical new information about potential sites of cultural heritage, which might contribute to the area being considered an Underwater Archaeological Preserve.
August 27 - September 20, 2021: A team from the University of Washington Applied Physics Lab carried out an expedition at the shelf break off the coast of Washington. The main goal of this expedition, funded by NOAA Ocean Exploration via the Fiscal Year 2020 Federal Funding Opportunity for Ocean Exploration, was to collect data for developing new acoustics-based methodologies that will pave the way for persistent, distributed observation of organisms that occupy the middle levels of the ocean food web (mid-trophic organisms), such as zooplankton and small fish, using gliders.
August 15 - September 28, 2021: NOAA Ocean Exploration conducted two telepresence-enabled exploratory ocean mapping expeditions on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. These expeditions included 24-hour-a-day acoustic exploration mapping operations in areas generally deeper than 200 meters (656 feet) in U.S. waters off the east coast, with a focus on the Blake Plateau.
August 18 - September 5, 2021: From August 18 to September 5, 2021, a team comprised of German, Italian, and American scientists and archaeologists embarked on a three-week expedition to search for SS Norlindo, an American steam freighter sunk on May 4, 1942, off of the Dry Tortugas by the German U-boat U-507. The sinking of Norlindo marked the first World War II combat casualties in the Gulf of Mexico.
July 28 - August 20, 2021: From July 28 to August 20, 2021, an interdisciplinary team of researchers led by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries conducted autonomous survey and exploration of the Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary and the proposed Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary July 28-August 20.
July 26 - August 1, 2021: From July 26 to August 1, 2021, a multi-institutional science team set sail aboard the R/V Point Sur from Gulfport, Mississippi and head towards DeSoto Canyon. The objectives of this mission, funded by NOAA Ocean Exploration, were to deploy two different autonomous sensor platforms developed as part of this project: National Geographic Society’s Driftcam and the Teledyne Webb Research Slocum glider.
July - December 2021: The Ocean Exploration Trust used Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus to explore the waters along the North American West Coast from British Columbia to Southern California and west to the Hawaiian Islands and Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
June 30 - July 29, 2021: NOAA Ocean Exploration and partners conducted a telepresence-enabled ocean exploration expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information about unknown and poorly understood deepwater areas off the eastern U.S. coast and high seas.
June 14 - 27, 2021: Archaeologists and ecologists from the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) and the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS), with funding support from NOAA Ocean Exploration, conducted an exploratory marine archaeological remote sensing and diving survey to locate and characterize archaeological sites within an area of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) known as the “Quicksands,” located west of Key West, Florida.
June 13 - June 27, 2021: NOAA Ocean Exploration conducted a shakedown of its dual-body remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) Deep Discoverer and Seirios on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in the Atlantic Ocean between Norfolk, Virginia, and Newport, Rhode Island. The expedition included engineering test dives in water depths up to approximately 5,000 meters (3.1 miles). ROV dives were conducted during the day with overnight mapping operations.
June 10 - June 20, 2021: For nearly two decades, NOAA Ocean Exploration, the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ Maritime Heritage Program, the U.S. Coast Guard, and a number of academic research partners have been engaged in a search for the final resting place of U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear.
May 14 - May 27, 2021: From May 14-27, 2021, NOAA Ocean Exploration led the 2021 Technology Demonstration on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to Norfolk, Virginia. The expedition provides an opportunity to test several technologies that will allow the ocean exploration community to explore deeper, farther, and more comprehensively than previously possible.
April 16 - May 10, 2021: NOAA Ocean Exploration began 2021 operations aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer with a 25-day expedition to assess the functionality and ensure readiness of mapping-related equipment, including a new state-of-the-art EM 304 multibeam sonar transducer.
April - September 2021: NOAA Ocean Exploration embarked on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to conduct exploration work in the North Atlantic Ocean.
October to November 2020: The deep sea is a vast reserve of mystery and possibility. The residents of the deep sea, and the minerals that compose its floor, are of growing importance to modern society. Microorganisms offer significant biopharmaceutical and industrial promises and some of deep-sea minerals are increasingly rare and in-demand.
September 2020: In this expedition on Exploration Vessel Nautilus, we aimed to explore how methane seeps interact with ocean systems and seek out expanding avenues in an ocean blue economy future.
September to December 2020: The Ocean Exploration Trust, in partnership with the Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, NOAA Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute, the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and Ocean Networks Canada, used Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus to explore little-known regions along the North American West Coast from British Columbia to Southern California.
July to August 2020: A team of researchers led by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in partnership with the National Centers for Coastal and Ocean Science explored Wimble Shoals, located adjacent to Rodanthe, North Carolina, on Duke University’s Research Vessel Shearwater. The Wimble Shoals Project team was seeking to characterize the maritime heritage resources of Wimble Shoals in order to enhance our knowledge of coastal processes affecting cultural resources (shipwrecks) and the marine ecosystem off Hatteras Island.
June 2020: This expedition's objective was to add more information about the environment in which early Gulf coast inhabitants would have lived.
August-December 2020: Nearly 60,000 years ago, a bald cypress forest flourished on the banks of a prehistoric river near the Gulf of Mexico. A team of scientists from Northeastern University and the University of Utah, funded by NOAA Ocean Exploration, are working to unlock the forest’s secrets, including its potential to harbor new compounds for medicine and biotechnology.
October 2019 - September 2020: NOAA Ocean Exploration embarked on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to conduct three regional expeditions starting with the U.S. Southeastern Continental Margin, moving to the Northern Caribbean, and finally, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge near the Azores.
October-November 2019: From October 31 through November 20, 2019, NOAA and partners conducted mapping and remotely operated vehicle operations from NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information about unknown and poorly understood deepwater areas of the Southeastern U.S. continental margin.
October-November 2019: From October 7 to November 7, 2019, scientists and engineers conducted a 29-day expedition aboard NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker along the California, Oregon, and Washington coasts, exploring the deep sea, one of the largest, but least known environments on Earth.
October 2019: From October 5 - 26, 2019 NOAA Ocean Exploration and NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer conducted systematic ocean mapping operations in U.S. federal waters offshore from Georgia and Florida, in a region called the Blake Plateau.
Fall 2019: In the fall of 2019, capitalizing on existing hydrographic survey contract mechanisms through NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, NOAA Ocean Exploration and the National Oceanographic Partnership Program funded the geodata specialist company Fugro to conduct a survey in the Blake Plateau region off the coasts of Georgia and Florida.
September-October 2019: From September 19-October 16, a team of oceanographers participated in on a voyage of discovery to explore in detail for the first time a hydrothermal vent field in the Arctic Ocean.
September 2019: A team of ocean scientists and engineers from Lehigh University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution used NOAA Research Vessel R/V MANTA and the newly developed autonomous underwater vehicle Mesobot to collect environmental DNA in order to explore the biodiversity of deepwater ecosystems near Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico.
September 2019: From September 14-28, NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard searched for the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear. USRC Bear, which served nearly 80 years in the Revenue Cutter Service, the Coast Guard, and the Navy, has a rich history of meritorious service in the Arctic, the North Atlantic, and Antarctica.
August-September 2019: From August 6 through September 15, 2019, NOAA and partners conducted a telepresence-enabled ocean exploration expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information about unknown and poorly understood deepwater areas of the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic continental margin.
July-August 2019: A multi-institutional science team performed test deployments of two autonomous sampling platforms, the Driftcam and Slocum glider, in waters of the West Florida Shelf. These technologies may permit access to the deepwater habitats and allow the study of organisms that comprise scattering layers in the Gulf of Mexico without the need to interfere or capture the animals.
July-August 2019: From July 26 - August 26, 2019, scientists on the Schmidt Ocean Institute's R/V Falkor will study the benthic (seafloor) communities of Nintoku, Jingu, and/or Koko Seamounts in the North Pacific to determine if/how the water masses bathing the seamounts influence the difference in the deepwater fauna between the Aleutians and Hawaii.
July-August 2019: From July 21 – August 3, 2019, a multi-disciplinary and international team sailed to the Gulf of Alaska Seamounts region to collect data to help us better understand the diversity of marine life in this underexplored region of economic importance that is also poised to undergo unprecedented change.
July-August 2019: NOAA and partners conducted a telepresence-enabled ocean exploration technology expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to demonstrate, test, and evaluate five emerging and existing technologies for possible integration into NOAA operations.
June-July 2019: Stowaways hide aboard a vessel as a means of (free) transportation. During a nine-day expedition on board the R/V Point Sur, scientists from the University of Southern Mississippi, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Naval Research Laboratory discovered and characterized two unexplored, wooden-hulled shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico, and study the microbial stowaways living secretly on and around them, to explore how shipwrecks shape the microbial biodiversity of the deep sea.
June 2019: From June 8-22, a team of researchers explored the water column in some of the deepest parts of the Gulf of Mexico in order to determine what happens to deep-sea animals when a very important constraint is taken away from them – that of light. They made observations and collected samples for further study on the characterization of visual systems, bioluminescence, and fluorescence of organisms living below 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), in the bathypelagic (midnight) zone.
June 2019: Scientists conducted remote sensing and sub-bottom profiler surveys to determine if people were living along the now-submerged northwestern Gulf of Mexico and coastal Texas and Louisiana as early as 13,000 years ago.
May and September 2019: Blue holes are underwater sinkholes, similar to sink holes on land. They vary in size, shape and depth, but most are ecological hot spots with a high diversity of abundance of plants and animals.
May-July 2019: From May 30 through July 12, 2019, NOAA and partners conducted a two-part, telepresence-enabled ocean exploration expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information about unknown and poorly understood deepwater areas of the southeastern United States.
May 2019: On May 12, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer set sail for a 13-day shakedown and sea-trial expedition in the Gulf of Mexico. On May 16, while conducting an "engineering dive" to test new remotely operated vehicle (ROV) equipment, the team made an unexpected – and exciting – discovery: the wreck of what is likely a mid-19th century wooden sailing vessel.
May - October 2019: From May to October, the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus, a 64-meter research vessel operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust, will be used to document and survey unexplored regions along the West Coast of the United States and in the Central Pacific, including American Samoa and U.S. Territorial Islands. This marks the Nautilus’ fifth year of exploration in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and is one of the most extensive seasons to date.
April - May 2019: This was the first year of a five-year study to investigate population connectivity for key coral, sponge, and fish species between shallow and mesophotic reefs of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and its proposed expansion areas to the east.
April 2019: From April 9 to 30, 2019, NOAA and partners at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the U.S. Geological Survey conducted 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.
October 2018 - September 2019: From October 2018 to September 2019, NOAA Ocean Exploration will lead nine expeditions on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, primarily focused on exploring deepwater areas in the North Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
November - December 2018: From November 28 to December 16, 2018, NOAA Ocean Exploration and its partners conducted telepresence-enabled mapping and remotely operated vehicle dives in support of federal agency and scientific community needs in the deep waters of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, and Turks and Caicos Islands.
October - November 2018: From October 30 - November 20, NOAA and partners conducted an expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information on unknown and poorly understood deepwater areas surrounding Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
October 2018: From October 1 to October 24, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer conducted a 24-day exploratory mapping expedition to collect critical data for the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Project. These operations will target three adjacent priority areas east of the Blake Plateau, northeast of the Bahamas.
August - September 2018: From August 25 - September 11, 2018, scientists characterized and systematically sampled across a range of pressures and temperatures at Lō`ihi Seamount in order to investigate whether this underwater volcano can serve as an analog of possible hydrothermal systems on the seafloor of Enceladus and other Ocean World systems.
August - September 2018: From August 19 to September 2, 2018, NOAA and partners at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the U.S. Geological Survey conducted 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.
July-August 2018: From July 12 to August 4, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer conducted a 24-day exploratory mapping expedition to collect critical baseline information about an unknown and poorly understood deepwater priority area southeast of Bermuda identified by the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance Atlantic Seabed Mapping International Working Group at the 4th Annual Galway Statement Implementation Committee Meeting in April 2017.
July 2018: The Aleutian campaign was the sole World War II campaign fought on North American soil, and Kiska Island, along with Attu Island to the west, are the only United States territories occupied by foreign forces in the last 200 years. While the terrestrial battlefield is well documented, the maritime component remains largely unexplored. This team built on existing archaeological and historical data to explore one of the least studied, yet most significant sites of World War II.
2018 - 2020: The Atlantic Seafloor Partnership for Integrated Research and Exploration, or ASPIRE, is a collaborative ocean exploration field program focused on the North Atlantic Ocean.
May - July 2018: NOAA and partners conducted an expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information about unknown and poorly understood deepwater areas of the Southeastern United States.
June - September 2018: Between June 27 and September 26, 2018, a team surveyed five areas of Lake Huron within and adjacent to Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Through geospatial analysis of historical records, these areas were determined to be likely sites for lost World War II training aircraft. None of the five areas of Lake Huron, located off Alcona and Iosco Counties in Michigan, had been previously surveyed.
June - November 2018: From June to November, scientists will use the Ocean Exploration Trust’s Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus to document and survey unexplored regions from British Columbia, Canada, along the West Coast of the United States, and for the first time, west to the Hawaiian Islands. This marks the ship’s fourth year of exploration in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and will be one of its most extensive seasons to date.
May - June 2018: The DeepCCZ Project used the best-available technology in deep-sea ecological, taxonomic, and connectivity studies to study deep-sea biodiversity in the western Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) of the central Pacific Ocean.
April - May 2018: A multidisciplinary team aboard the Research Vessel Falkor journeyed to an open patch in the Pacific Ocean known as the “White Shark Café” to study one of the most iconic predators in the ocean: The white shark.
April - May 2018: NOAA and partners conducted a telepresence-enabled ocean exploration expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information about unknown and poorly understood deepwater areas in the Gulf of Mexico.
March - April 2018: At 0800 on September 15, 1944, the first waves of men in 73 amphibious tractors started for the beaches of Peleliu, one of the Palau Islands of the western Pacific. This project was the first of its kind in Peleliu to explore the landing beaches and fringing reef by conducting a comprehensive, systematic remote sensing search for the material remains from this forgotten battlefield.
March - April 2018: The Gulf of Mexico Technology Demonstration was the first operational cruise on board NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in 2018, during which we conducted our first emerging technology demonstration projects. We worked with three new technologies.
October 2017 - September 2018: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer returned to the Atlantic Ocean and conducted a series of expeditions to continue exploration of the deep waters of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and North Atlantic.
November - December 2017: A team of scientists and technicians, both at-sea and shore-based, conducted exploratory investigations into the diversity and distribution of deep-sea habitats and associated marine communities in the Gulf of Mexico basin.
November 2017: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer conducted an exploratory mapping expedition from Panama City, Panama, to Key West, Florida.
October - November 2017: The goal of this expedition was to provide the first glimpse of the deepwater communities within the largest and deepest UNESCO World Heritage Site on Earth, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. This work was conducted during a 30-day cruise on the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Research Vessel Falkor.
September 2017: NOAA and partners conducted an expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to explore unknown and poorly understood deepwater areas around the Musicians Seamounts and the Hawaiian Islands.
September 2017: Scientists used 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 those seafloor communities.
August 2017: Operations during the expedition included focused mapping and strategic mapping transits by NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer within the waters of Hawaii and in international waters at the Musician Seamounts chain.
August 2017: NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science led an expedition aboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster to map, survey, and sample deep-sea coral ecosystems in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic Bight.
July - August 2017: NOAA and partners conducted an expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to continue collecting critical baseline information about unknown and poorly known deepwater areas in the Johnston Atoll Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
June 2017: A team of scientists aboard NOAA Ship Henry Bigelow spent 15 days at sea exploring canyon and slope habitats off the coast of the Northeast U.S. and Canada and sites in the Gulf of Maine with the Canadian remotely operated vehicle, ROPOS.
May - June 2017: The R/V F.G. Walton Smith circumnavigated Cuba, conducting daily remotely operated vehicle dives to focus on the mesophotic reef in order to discover and characterize the extent of mesophotic reefs in Cuba and to compare the health and connectivity (physical, genetic, and ecological) among the mesophotic and shallow coral reef systems in Cuba and the United States.
May 2017: Scientists on the IMMeRSS (Interagency Mission for Methane Research at Seafloor Seeps) expedition focused on the geology, ecology, chemistry, and physics of methane seeps on the U.S. Mid-Atlantic margin between Baltimore Canyon and Hatteras Canyon at water depths of 400-1,600 meters.
May 2017: Scientists explored sunken aircraft associated with the Battle of Midway, adding an important maritime heritage component to our understanding of the broader history of World War II in the Pacific. This year is the 75th anniversary of the battle, and this project aims to raise awareness and honor the legacy of the brave men who helped to turn the tide in the Pacific during the course of the Battle of Midway.
May - November 2017: The Ocean Exploration Trust conducted the third year of exploration in the Eastern Pacific Ocean on Exploration Vessel Nautilus, as scientists documented and surveyed unexplored regions from British Columbia, Canada, along the West Coast of the United States, and to Baja California, Mexico.
April - May 2017: NOAA and partners conducted a telepresence-enabled expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information about deepwater areas as it transited across the northern portion of the Cook Islands, with focused work in the vicinity of both the Jarvis Island and Kingman/Palmyra units of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, prior to returning to Honolulu.
April - July 2017: Following the expansion of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in 2014, one of the prime research goals has been surveying newly included sanctuary areas for undiscovered shipwrecks. Over the course of a four-part expedition throughout the spring and summer of 2017, the sanctuary hosted a multifaceted, ongoing research project to apply new tools toward searching for these wrecks.
April 2017: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer conducted mapping operations 24 hours per day using the ship's state-of-the-art suite of sonars focused on mapping the seafloor, the water column, and the sub-seafloor. This is the second of two Okeanos cruises focused on exploring the waters of American Samoa and Samoa, and is the first of two cruises focused on exploring the waters of the Cook Islands.
March 2017: NOAA and partners conducted a telepresence-enabled ocean exploration expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information about unknown and poorly known deepwater areas in the Howland and Baker Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument and the Phoenix Islands Protected Area.
February - April 2017: NOAA and partners conducted two telepresence-enabled ocean exploration cruises on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information of unknown and poorly known deepwater areas in American Samoa and Samoa, with an emphasis on Rose Atoll Marine National Monument, National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, and National Park of American Samoa.
January - February 2017: This seafloor mapping expedition commenced on January 20, 2017, in Honolulu, Hawaii, and concluded on February 11 in Pago Pago, American Samoa.
December 2016 - September 2017: A team of NOAA and external partners conducted the third year of the ‘Campaign to Address Pacific monument Science, Technology, and Ocean NEeds (CAPSTONE)’ field effort, deploying NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to investigate and document the diversity and distribution of deepwater environments in U.S. central Pacific waters, the high seas, and waters of several Pacific Island countries and territories.
December 2016: The Okeanos team conducted two at-sea "shakedown" cruises, to test all of the ship’s mission systems to ensure everything is performing properly and that the ship is fully ready for 2017 expeditions. The first cruise was focused primarily on testing remotely operated vehicle and telepresence systems. The second cruise was dedicated to mapping and continued telepresence shakedown.
November - December 2016: A team led by scientists from the University of Washington, Oregon State University, and NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Research Vessel Falkor traveled to the Mariana Back-arc, to explore newly discovered hydrothermal vents and the life they support.
August - September 2016: Mapping efforts focused on using NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer deepwater sonar systems to explore several unnamed, previously unexplored seamounts near Wake Island during a transit from Kwajalein Atoll to the operational working grounds near Wake Island, followed by final transit to Honolulu, Hawaii.
August - September 2016: A team of scientists and engineers aboard NOAA Ship Pisces explored three deepwater canyons off the coast of North Carolina. Specifically, the team will target Keller, Pamlico, and Hatteras canyons.
August - September 2016: The primary focus of this mission was to completely characterize the remains of a World War II Naval Battlefield. For years, NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary has been conducting a series of comprehensive surveys of WWII shipwrecks off North Carolina associated with the Battle of the Atlantic. In 2014, following years of research and searching, the remains of the KS-520 battle were discovered. Scientists revisited the region for further study.
July - August 2016: NOAA and partners will conducted a telepresence-enabled ocean exploration cruise on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information in and around the Wake Island Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
July - August 2016: A team of scientists, media personnel, and educators sailed to the Arctic's Chukchi Borderlands onboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy. They investigated microbial communities in sea ice, water, and seafloor environments; water column (planktonic) organisms; invertebrate and fish seafloor (benthic) communities; as well as conducted observations of marine mammals and seabirds.
May - September 2016: The Ocean Exploration Trust embarked on a four-month expedition aboard Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus. In its second year of exploring the eastern Pacific Ocean, Nautilus visited sites from British Columbia and along the west coast of North America down to southern California, including regions within several national marine sanctuaries.
April - July 2016: NOAA and partners conducted a three-cruise expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information of unknown and poorly known areas in and around the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
June 2016: A team used OpenROV submersibles to explore the SS Tahoe shipwreck. They documented the expedition and engaged with virtual citizen explorers online and demonstrated best practices that can be adopted by the citizen exploration community at large. While not a NOAA-funded expedition, the project served as an opportunity for NOAA to help support a new citizen exploration model.
March - April 2016: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer conducted 24-hour mapping operations to explore the largely unknown region surrounding the Wake Island Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM). This was the first of three cruises in the 2016 field season focused on deepwater exploration of the PRIMNM.
March - April 2016: A University of Maine-led team conducted the first-ever deepwater exploration of Glacier Bay National Park using both diver-based surveys and a remotely operated vehicle.
February - March 2016: Scientists continued 2015 Hohonu Moana expedition efforts to explore deep-water habitats in and around Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The expedition included work on seamounts in the Mid-Pacific Mountains while en route to port in Kwajalein.
February 2016: The team conducted a shakedown of newly installed systems, tested data work flow and integration, and prepared for the rest of the field season. A primary objective of this cruise was to test the remotely operated vehicle (ROVs) in a controlled environment and train new ROV engineers.
February - September 2016: A team of NOAA and external partners investigated and documented deep-water environments in and around the Hawaiian Archipelago, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands and Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, and Wake Atoll section of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
July -September 2015: A team of NOAA and external partners both at-sea and on shore conducted mapping and remotely operated vehicle operations in the deep waters of the Hawaiian Archipelago, including the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and Johnston Atoll.
August -September 2015: Scientists conducted the final round of fieldwork as part of the Coral Ecosystem Connectivity 2015: From Pulley Ridge to the Florida Keys expedition.
August 2015: This expedition brought the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ Maritime Heritage Program to the remote and challenging Alaska region for the first time in the more than four decades since the creation of the National Marine Sanctuary Program.
July 2015: NOAA and partner scientists deployed a hydrophone to a depth of 10,971 meters (6.71 miles) within the Challenger Deep trough in the Mariana Trench near Micronesia. Here are some of their results.
July 2015: Scientists used combined expertise in bioluminescence, taxonomy, visual ecology, imaging and molecular biology, and the unique collecting capabilities and camera systems of the Global Explorer to continue studies of the deep-sea benthic environment in the Gulf of Mexico.
July 2015 - September 2017: In July 2015, a team of NOAA and partners initiated the ‘Campaign to Address Pacific monument Science, Technology, and Ocean NEeds (CAPSTONE),' a multi-year effort focused on deepwater areas of U.S. marine protected areas in the Pacific.
May - June 2015: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer journeyed from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, exploring along the way. Okeanos Explorer will leave Puerto Rico to traverse the Western Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Eastern Pacific.
February - April 2015: NOAA Ocean Exploration led a three-leg expedition aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to explore unknown and poorly known deepwater regions around Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
January 2015 - August 2016: Scientists used next-generation DNA sequencing technologies and cutting-edge bioinformatics approaches to enable the discovery and characterization of the largely unknown molecular diversity of microbes associated with Arctic sea ice and seafloor habitats.
Spring 2015: Leading the state-of-the-art development of marine robotic 3D mapping for underwater archaeology, our University of Michigan-based team returned from an archaeological field expedition to the underwater city of Port Royal, Jamaica.
April - September 2015: E/V Nautilus explored sites from the Gulf of Mexico to British Columbia. The season marked the transition of the vessel and operations to the west coast of the United States and the Pacific Ocean, concluding over two years of research in the Gulf and Caribbean regions.
March - April 2015: This was the second of three exploration cruises of NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in the Caribbean in the 2015 field season. The primary focus of this cruise esd high-resolution mapping of areas near Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Trench.
February - March 2015: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer conducted a mapping expedition, beginning in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, and ending in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
2015: Over a two-year period, a team from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez systematically tested, improved, and enhanced relatively low-cost free vehicles and free vehicle-supported research methods in shallow to abyssal depths.
February - September 2015: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer embarked on a journey to investigate and document the Caribbean and the Hawaiian Islands. A combination of scientists, technicians, and engineers – both on board the ship and on shore – mapped and explore the geological, biological, archaeological, and chemical features of these vast areas.
November - December 2014: Scientists traveled to the Submarine Ring of Fire to study iron-oxidizing bacteria at hydrothermal vents and how carbon dioxide from submarine volcanoes impacts nearby biological communities.
September - October 2014: NOAA and University of New Hampshire scientists aboard the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution-operated Research Vessel Atlantis conducted a mapping expedition to the Mendocino Ridge off the coast of northern California.
September 2014: Scientists on board the Exploration Vessel Nautilus visited several unexplored seamounts that punctuate the seafloor within the Caribbean Sea, uncovering information about geologic, biologic, and oceanographic processes.
August - October 2014: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer explored the largely unknown deep-sea ecosystems of the U.S. Atlantic coast. Our at-sea and shore-based science team collected baseline data in the Atlantic submarine canyons and along the New England Seamount Chain.
July - August 2014: A team of maritime archaeologists from the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program, the research arm of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, embarked on a mission to discover the lost French Fleet of 1565.
August 2014: This was the third year of a five-year study to investigate the role that the mesophotic reefs of Pulley Ridge (off the southwest coast of Florida) may play in replenishing key fish species, such as grouper and snapper, and other organisms in the downstream reefs of the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas.
June - October 2014: Exploration Vessel Nautilus embarked on a journey to document and research the regions of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.
May 2014: NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service Southwest Fisheries Science Center worked with Boeing under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to explore the potential applicability of the large autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Echo Ranger for a rockfish survey.
May 2014: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer conducted a 16-day mapping expedition beginning in Tampa, Florida, and ending at the ship’s homeport of North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Exploratory ocean mapping occured at all times during the expedition as the Okeanos Explorer traveled around the Florida Keys and northward along the U.S. East Coast.
April - May 2014: Scientists on board the R/V Thompson, used the hybrid remotely operated vehicle, Nereus, to explore systematically for the first time the hadal Kermadec trench system and the neighboring abyssal plain in the Southwestern Pacific, north of New Zealand.
February - May 2014: A team of scientists and technicians both at sea and on shore conducted exploratory investigations on the diversity and distribution of deep-sea habitats and marine life in the Gulf of Mexico. This expedition focused on acquiring data on priority exploration areas identified by management and science communities.
August 2013: The R/V F.G. Walton Smith and the M/V Spree combined efforts in the second year of a five-year study to investigate the role that the mesophotic reefs of Pulley Ridge (off the southwest coast of Florida) may play in replenishing key fish species and other organisms in the downstream reefs of the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas.
August 2013: This was the final cruise in a four-year project to study submarine canyons along the continental slope of the Middle Atlantic coast. Submarine canyons are dominant features of the outer continental shelf and slope of the U.S. east coast from Cape Hatteras to the Gulf of Maine.
July - August 2013: A team of scientists and technicians both at-sea and on shore conducted exploratory investigations on the diversity and distribution of deep-sea habitats and marine life along the Northeast U.S. Canyons and at Mytilus Seamount, located within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.
July 2013: The Ocean Exploration Trust's Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus returned to investigate an early 19th century wooden shipwreck first explored by NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in April 2012.
June 2013: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer conducted seafloor and water column mapping operations in the Western North Atlantic Ocean over a portion of the New England Seamount Chain.
May - June 2013: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer conducted mapping operations and testing of a new remotely operated vehicle off the East Coast of the United States.
April - May 2013: Scientists on the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown studied the biology of Norfolk Canyon, with some sampling in Baltimore Canyon and exploration of archaeological targets in and around the Norfolk Canyon area.
March - April 2013: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer conducted mapping operations within the Western North Atlantic Ocean as part of the annual ship shakedown.
November 2012: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer operated in the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and the U.S.-Canadian territorial boundary.
September 2012: See the highlights, including daily logs, images, and video, from a series of expeditions to explore the submarine volcanoes of the Western Pacific.
August - September 2012: Learn how scientists conducted long-term research to better understand the causes and consequences of environmental change in the fragile Arctic environment.
August - October 2012: Scientists aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster explored and characterized hard- and soft-bottom communities as well as shipwreck sites in canyons off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland.
July - August 2012: Learn what scientists uncovered while on board Exploration Vessel Nautilus to explore the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, and Mediterranean Sea off the coasts of Turkey and Cyprus.
July 2012: Scientists returned to two dive sites they visited in 2009, hoping to excavate late Pleistocene terrestrial sediments containing plants, animals, and perhaps artifacts from some of the first human beings to arrive in the New World.
July 2012: Scientists aboard the Research Vessel Brooks McCall set off on their fifth and final expedition to investigate the deep-water coral communities of the Gulf of Mexico.
April 2012: During a 10-day cruise on the Research Vessel Melville, scientists probed for strange new biological life forms, communities, and ecosystems dependent unknown conditions.
March - April 2012: A team of scientists and technicians both at-sea and on shore conducted exploratory investigations on the diversity and distribution of deep-sea habitats and marine life in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
February - August 2012: A team of NOAA and external partners conducted a mapping ‘blitz’ focused on deepwater canyons off the northeastern seaboard.
September 2011: This mapping cruise commenced on September 15th, departing Pascagoula, Mississippi for a strategically planned offshore route to Rhode Island.
September 2011: Scientists on an interdisciplinary expedition explored the forgotten world of the Maya in the Yucatan along the tip of Quintana Roo. See how the Maya maritime trade network was able to thrive in a challenging coastal environment that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Caribbean.
August – September 2011: Very few deep water multibeam sonars are capable of providing water column backscatter data. Learn why the primary purpose of this expedition was to study the feasibility of using this capability to map gasses in the water column.
August 2011: Scientists returned to four dive sites they visited in 2009 to study the biology, geology, and oceanography of a series of canyons off the middle Atlantic coast of the U.S.
August 2011: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer traveled to the deepest part of the Caribbean Sea, where a team of international scientists both at-sea and on shore conducted interdisciplinary investigations of the Mid-Cayman Rise.
July - November 2011: Scientists from a multi-institute initiative conducted ocean exploration projects in the Black, Aegean, and Mediterranean Seas and the eastern Atlantic Ocean over a five-month period.
July 2011: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer embarked on a unique expedition to one of the most fascinating areas of the world’s oceans to explore the water column and unexplored benthic environments in the Galápagos region.
June 2011: Some of the world’s foremost technical divers used state-of-the-art equipment to explore Bermuda's deep water caves. See how they examined the unique characteristics of Bermuda's shelf edge in order to learn about climate and sea level changes since the last Ice Age.
June 2011: This project represented a major systematic exploration of submarine canyons on the continental margin of the eastern United States. Scientists used data and information to improve knowledge of the type and extent of unique deep-water communities in the mid-Atlantic canyons.
March 2011: This expedition provided an opportunity to get NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer underway and ensure that all of its systems and equipment were fully operational prior to integration of the remotely operated vehicle on board.
February - March 2011: In this deep-diving expedition to the Southern Pacific, scientists characterized deep-reef communities and began the task of assessing organisms for their biotechnology potential.
October 2010: Scientists aboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown set off on their fourth expedition to investigate the deep-water coral communities of the Gulf of Mexico.
October 2010: NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries hosted this research and education mission, bringing the science of ocean conservation and the underwater world to the public during live Internet broadcasts from the Aquarius undersea laboratory in the Florida Keys.
October 2010: Systematic exploration aboard the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer has been an evolving operational model referred to as a “sticks and boxes” approach. The variety of data being collected onboard the Okeanos during this cruise from Hawaii to California represented a step forward in the exploration conducted with the at-sea time allotted to the ship.
September 2010: Using a multidisciplinary approach including mapping, core sampling, and "green" vessel technology, scientists explored this famous—if still relatively poorly understood—underwater fault off Northern California's coast.
August - September 2010: The 2010 Extended Continental Shelf survey was a five-week-long Arctic mapping expedition involving two icebreakers: U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis S. St-Laurent.
August - September 2010: Using high-resolution systematic surveys of a large area along the shipping routes used by Massachusetts’ oldest ports, scientists tried to locate historic shipwrecks, including a shipwreck from the earliest periods of United States history.
August 2010: Thunder Bay 2010 brought cutting-edge shipwreck-finding technology to Lake Huron’s “shipwreck alley”—the stretch of Lake Huron just off the northeastern Michigan coast that has claimed hundreds of ships.
July - August 2010: A science team on the research vessel Seward Johnson headed to the eastern Gulf of Mexico to assess and record conditions in the water column and on the seafloor to gather baseline data along Florida’s shelf edge as part of NOAA’s response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
June – August 2010: An international team led by scientists from the United States and Indonesia participated in a collaborative effort to explore the depths of Indonesian waters.
April - May 2010: This unique expedition took place in Ballena Bay, just off the Isla Espíritu Santo. Learn why scientists hoped their findings would give them a better understanding of human migration into the New World.
February 2010: A diverse team of scientists tackled questions about strange new biological life forms, communities, and ecosystems far from the sunlit ocean surface at the Chilean Triple Junction.