Date: June 19, 2018
Location: Lat: 29.37363230°, Lon: -79.82594099°
Dive Depth Range: 705 - 734 meters (2,313 - 2,408 feet)
On June 19, 2018, during the Windows to the Deep 2018 expedition, NOAA and partners had a spectacular dive from NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer at Stetson Mesa South, off the east coast of Florida in the Stetson Miami Terrace Habitat Area of Particular Concern. A primary goal of the dive was to determine the origin of several mound features mapped by the Okeanos Explorer in 2012 and 2014 -- were the mounds biological in origin, built by an animal such as a coral, or were they something else?
Beautiful imagery during the dive revealed a diversity of life as well as part of one of the largest areas of deep-sea coral reef ever imaged in U.S. waters. These findings added substantial evidence that other previously mapped mounds of unknown origin were also likely formed by the slow accumulation of Lophelia pertusa coral. Discoveries such as this not only change our expectations in terms of what lies in our own deepwater backyard, but since we can’t manage and protect what we don’t know, all of these observations can help to inform management of these sensitive habitats and potential resources within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.
Dive Location Map