Ocean Explorer Expeditions in the Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf of Mexico has been at the forefront of international news since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010. This region, with its unique climate and underwater habitats, has been the focus of many NOAA Ocean Explorer expeditions since the program's inception in 2001. Below are links to the expeditions conducted by OER in the Gulf of Mexico between 2001 and 2009.


Jump to year:

2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001


Exploring the Submerged New World 2009

October: Scientists explored the North American Florida Middle Grounds for traces of early human occupation on a submerged late Pleistocene landscape.

Lophelia II 2009: Deepwater Coral Expedition: Reefs, Rigs, and Wrecks

August: Scientists returned to the Gulf of Mexico to collect data related to cold water corals: their habitats, their levels of genetic connectivity, and the distribution of their communities.


Lophelia II 2008: Deepwater Coral Expedition: Reefs, Rigs, and Wrecks

September: Scientists used a combination of remote sensing, quantitative community collections, and genetic analyses to further our understanding of cold water corals and the communities associated with them.

The Northeastern Gulf of Mexico 2008

July: A team of Maritime archaeologists returned to the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico to study the inundated late pleistocene landscapes and how these features may give clues to Florida's first Snowbirds.


Gulf of Mexico 2007

June: This year's mission revisited previous discoveries and explores new areas in the Gulf of Mexico.


Expedition to the Deep Slope 2006

May - June: Scientists conducted the first systematic exploration of hydrocarbon seep communities in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.


Operation Deep Scope 2005

August - September: Scientists returned to explore the benthic creatures of the Northern Gulf of Mexico, hoping to continue an astonishing array of discoveries, including that of a fluorescent shark, fluorescent methane hydrates, and a new species of large deep-sea squid.


Operation Deep Scope

August: The science team used advanced camera systems and light-tight traps to explore the benthic creatures of the Northern Gulf of Mexico - one of the most geologically complex regions on the planet.

WW II Shipwreck Survey

July-August: Scientists ventured into the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico to learn the long-term effect of manmade structures on the deep sea, and conversely, the effect of the environment on those structures.


Gulf of Mexico Habitats

September - October: An interdisciplinary scientific team spent 12 days exploring deep sea coral habitats in the Northern Gulf of Mexico.

Deep Sea Medicines

September: A team studied marine organisms found in deep water habitats in the Gulf of Mexico as potential sources of new drugs.

Gulf of Mexico Deep Sea Biology

February: A student team studied the reproductive biology and biochemistry of cold-seep mussels and various other seasonally reproducing deep-sea animals.


Gulf of Mexico

June - October) An exploration team explored and studied the communities of animals found around deep-sea oil seeps to improve our understanding of the lush habitats that thrive in the absence of sunlight.


Islands in the Stream

May - August: Scientists explored coral reef and hard-bottom communities throughout the Gulf of Mexico. A special focus was the effects of currents on the life cycles and migration patterns of various species.