Ocean Explorer: From Surface to Seafloor: Exploration of the Water Column (March 4-5, 2017)


Dates: 4-5 March 2017
Location: Honolulu, HI
Venue: UH Manoa Campus Center , room 308
Facilitators: Amanda N. Netburn, Doug Harper

Prior to workshop

(1) ASLO Session Characterizing “exploration” in the water column  takes place on Thursday, March 2, 14:30-17:30, Room 313C (*Posters, #565-570 will be in the Kamehameha Exhibit Hall from 15:30-16:30)
(2) Monday, February 27, 15:00- The R/V Okeanos Explorer will be conducting midwater ROV transects from ~500-2000 m off of American Samoa on February 27 (Read more about the full expedition). The event will be broadcast through telepresence, and interested scientists are invited to participate. For those who will be in town, please join me for this event at the Exploration Command Center at the University of Hawaii. There is also opportunity to participate from anywhere using your personal computer and phone line.

Day 1: March 4, 2017


8:00 - 8:30
Registration and Breakfast
8:30 - 8:45
Welcome (Amanda Netburn)
8:45 - 9:00
Introduction (Alan Leonardi)
9:00 - 10:00
Overview science talks- What are most impactful discoveries to date and what are cutting edge moving into future?
9:00 - 9:15
Multi-disciplinary sensors and mooring observations – (Uwe Send)
9:15 - 9:30
Chemistry (Chris Hayes)
9:30 - 9:45
Biology – Micro (Anni Djurhuus)
9:45 - 10:00
Biology – Plankton/Nekton (Tracey Sutton)
10:00 - 10:30
10:30 - 11:00
Recent opportunities for community input
10:30 - 10:45
DESCEND 2 workshop (Marsh Youngbluth)
10:45 - 11:00
National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) Discovering the Deep Blue Sea (Steve Haddock)
11:00 - 12:30


12:30 - 13:30
13:30 - 14:30
Session I report out and discussion
14:30 - 16:30
Breakout Session II (Coffee and snacks available)
16:30 - 17:30
Session II report out and discussion
Pau Hana/Dinner (Tiki's Grill and Bar )

Day 2: March 5, 2017


8:00 - 8:30
8:30 - 8:45
Welcome (Doug/Amanda)
8:45 - 9:30
Overview talks on opportunities
8:45 - 9:00
OER/OET overview (Kasey Cantwell)
9:00 - 9:15
SOI overview (Carlie Wiener)
9:15 - 9:30
MBARI overview (Bruce Robison)
9:30 - 11:00
Breakout Session III (Coffee and snacks available)
11:00 - 12:00
Report out and discussion
12:00 - 13:30
Lunch/Group Photo/Solicit feedback on next steps


13:30 - 14:30
Next Steps - review of feedback & large group discussion
14:30 - 14:45
Overview of writing tasks (Amanda)
14:45 - 15:15
Break/Sign up for writing tasks
15:00 - 16:30
Group writing
16:30 - 17:00
Wrap up

Breakout sessions (breakout session assignments):

Session I: What?

In the first breakout session, participants will outline exploration and research data requirements in the context of the water column. Groups will consider one of two exploration themes:

  1. Baseline characterization (2 groups)

    • What is a “baseline characterization” in the context of the water column?
    • If you could only go to a spot in the ocean once, what is the most critical information that you would need to characterize the physics, chemistry, and biology of the water column there? Please do not consider the data collection platform or current technological limitations. Be specific, and create a prioritized list of data collection objectives.
    Secondary (if you have extra time, discuss the following):
    • What geographical locations should be prioritized for future exploration of the water column? (i.e., areas where we lack robust data or have particularly interesting features to explore)
  2. Research Needs (2 groups)

    • What are the main scientific questions/gaps relating to the water column?
    • What are the minimum data needs to address these questions? Please do not consider the data collection platform or current technological limitations. Be specific, and create a prioritized list of both the research questions and data needs.
    Secondary (if you have extra time, discuss the following):
    • What are the current limitations to accessing or collecting those data? How could these be addressed?
      • Cost Limitations – How can we come up with the most cost-effective approaches to collecting water column data?
      • Technology limitations – How can existing technologies be used or improved upon to obtain the data we need? What new technologies should be developed?

Session II: How?

Opportunistic data collection – How can existing opportunities and assets be leveraged to provide the data needed to address the exploration and research priorities that were developed in breakout session I? (For example, on a seafloor ROV cruise, could a couple of hours be dedicated to water column transects at set depths/features to expand the geographic scope of midwater ROV operations and compare between sites?). Each group should outline specific protocols that could be used to leverage the opportunities they are assigned. More detailed guidance will be provided to each breakout group at the workshop.

  • ROV (1 group)
  • Geological and hydrographic cruises (1 group)
  • Long-term observing networks (1 group)
  • Innovative and autonomous systems (1 group)

Session III: When?

Participants are asked to design a dedicated water column exploration strategy, considering the priorities that were developed in Session I. The first two groups will design coordinated water column exploration programs that could be implemented in the next 1-5 years, utilizing currently available technologies. The second two groups should think well into the future and beyond current financial and technical limitations, incorporate “out-of-the-box” thinking, and be highly ambitious.

  • Near-term (1-5 years, 2 groups)
  • Long-term (10+ years, 2 groups)



Event Information

View hotel and travel information.


View a complete list of scientists participating in the workshop.

Background Materials

View relevant papers and other materials.