Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition 2013

Mission Logs

Follow along as participants in the cruise provide updates and reflections on their experiences, the science, the technology, and other elements of the expedition.

  • Okeanos Goes Viral

    August 16, 2013  |  By Emily Crum

    An octopus strikes a pose for the remotely operated vehicle near Shallop Canyon.
    A seaspider, or pycnogonid, seen while exploring Oceanographer Canyon.

    As the manager of the Ocean Explorer website and the person posting about NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research on Facebook and Twitter, it has been extremely gratifying and exciting to watch the live video feeds from the Okeanos Explorer Northeast U.S. Canyons 2013 expedition catch people's attention.

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  • Submarine Canyon Evolution (the Geological Kind)

    August 13, 2013  |  By Jason Chaytor

    ROV D2 inspecting a large block of mudstone displaced from the wall of Heezen Canyon.

    During the long summer days of July and August, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer, and the cadre of scientists and technicians both aboard ship and ashore have had the rare opportunity to visit more than 10 submarine canyons along the U.S. Atlantic continental slope during the Northeast U.S. Canyons cruise. While some of these canyons have been visited many times in the past, the rest remained virtually visually unexplored.

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  • From Ship to Shore

    August 11, 2013  |  By Jamie Austin

    An example of how, in Heezen Canyon, biology (in this case a hake) uses fractures in the rocks as suitable habitat.

    Submarine canyons, undersea "sinuous valleys" indenting the continental slope off the central and northeastern United States, are one of the East Coast continental margin's most prominent features. Some of these canyons are tens of millions of years old, kept open by periodic erosional forces generated by many processes.

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  • Old(ish) Tools For a (Not So) New Frontier

    August 9, 2013  |  By Jared Drewniak

    It takes a diverse team with many kinds of skills to image the deepest regions of the ocean.

    The idea of telepresence is certainly not a new one. It’s an almost inevitable conclusion of our inborn desire to explore, our skill at crafting tools, and our relatively fragile physical nature. The desire to explore, to traverse distance and time, is a human drive trumped only by our basic survival needs. And even then there are many who would (and still do) risk life and limb to see what’s beyond the hill, above the sky, and below the sea.

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  • A Wealth of Bamboo Corals

    August 7, 2013  |  By Scott France

    Close-up of a young bamboo coral colony.
    Keratoisis-like bamboo coral with several brittle stars (Ophiuroids) on the branches.

    If you have been following along on the live dives of the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition, you have likely heard several times the cry of “Bamboo coral!” With a little practice, most bamboo corals can be fairly quickly recognized in deep-sea video. However, such an identification only begins to scratch at the surface of the actual biodiversity we are seeing. So what is a bamboo coral [and why are we so interested in them]?

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  • Exploring Mytilus Seamount

    August 6, 2013  |  By Martha Nizinski and Amanda Demopoulos

    Corals were diverse on Mytilus Seamount, but composition and abundance of corals differed between the north and south side of the seamount.

    During this expedition, we explored Mytilus Seamount on two separate dives, one on the north side and one on the south side of the seamount. Mytilus is part of the New England Seamount Chain and is one of the deepest (over 3,000 meters at the base) and least-explored seamounts in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. Earlier expeditions had conducted some work on Mytilus, but we still have a great deal to learn.

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  • Exploration and Management in the Age of Telepresence

    August 5, 2013  |  By Peter Etnoyer

    Abundance and diversity of corals are just some of ecosystem characteristics that can be gleaned from the live Okeanos Explorer feeds.

    Working with a telepresence-enabled ship like NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer is a bit like 'drinking from the firehose' when it comes to digital information. The ship and crew battle wind and waves, but here on ‘the beach’ we battle with overloaded networks and overheated computers. We deal with big data in real time. The steady stream of high-resolution images, water chemistry, and navigation from the remotely operated vehicle require high bandwidth (4 mb/sec) and push the limits of our technology.

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  • Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition: Leg 1 Mission Summary

    August 2, 2013  |  By Tim Shank, Andrea Quattrini, and Meme Lobecker

    Close up of a brisingid seastar.
    Bathymetric map summarizing operations conducted during Leg 1 of the Northeast U.S. Canyons 2013 Expedition.

    From July 8-25, the Northeast U.S. Canyons 2013 Expedition explored diverse habitats and geological settings of the deep canyons region off the Northeast United States. The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Deep Discoverer completed 16 dives to depths ranging from 500 to 2,200 meters along the continental slope of the northeast U.S. Focused exploration of the deep seafloor occurred between Block to Hydrographer Canyons. Throughout the cruise, previously collected multibeam data was used to plan all ROV dives. Gridded bathymetry data were viewed in collaboration with the onshore science team, and dive tracks were planned and plotted in 3D and shared with the team.

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  • A Day in a Telepresence-Enabled Expedition

    July 31, 2013  |  By Webb Pinner and Kelley Elliott

    Telepresence provides many opportunities, including training the next generation of scientists. Here, Tim Shank, Co-science team lead for this cruise, and several of his students join the expedition from the Inner Space Center.

    Applying telepresence to an oceanographic expedition alters traditional day-to-day operations. With a science team that can span the globe, the work never stops. Live video, audio commentary, and regular data uploads provide new datasets and information to shore 24 hours a day. Shore-based teams remain in constant communication with the vessel and each other via email, instant messaging (IM), and an IP-based intercom system. All of these mechanisms are used to plan daily operations as well as to participate in the real-time discoveries.

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  • My Experience on the Okeanos Explorer

    July 24, 2013  |  By Anthony Sylvester

    Anthony Sylvester (left) pilots ROV Deep Discoverer for the first time while Bobby Mohr watches from the navigator position.

    To say that joining NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer for the Northeast U.S. Canyons 2013 Expedition would be a new and unique experience is an understatement. This cruise has presented me with many firsts – my first time traveling to Rhode Island, my first time seeing the Atlantic Ocean, my first time at sea for more than a day, my first time working with the remotely operated vehicle team, and soon, my first time to New York when this leg of the cruise comes to an end. I am happy to say that my experience so far has been completely positive.

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  • These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...Incredible Critters of the Deep

    July 22, 2013  |  By Kasey Cantwell

    One of the more strange-looking animals we came across in Veatch Canyon, a bathysaurus. These fish use their lower jaw to scoop in the sand.
    A baby octopus (Graneledone verrucosa) moves across the seafloor as ROV Deep Discoverer explores Veatch Canyon.

    I am what you might call a “shutterbug,” or an amateur photo enthusiast. My friends and family will tell you that pretty much wherever I go, I take entirely too many pictures. As web coordinator for the 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition, I have the distinct pleasure of pouring over hundreds of amazing images every evening to choose what eventually ends up on the website.

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  • What Is a Chief Boatswain?

    July 17, 2013  |  By Tyler Sheff

    Tyler Sheff, Chief Boatswain, operates ROV Deep Discoverer’s crane with a wireless control.

    The term “Boatswain” or “bosun” originates from the 15th century. It was a term used to describe the young boy who piloted a small boat to take his captain to shore. In recent times, the meaning has expanded to describe the persons who tend to anchors, rigging and general ship maintenance. A NOAA Boatswain is a far more involved position aboard the ship.

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  • Deep-sea Coral Diversity: Insights from Hydrographer Canyon

    July 14, 2013  |  By Andrea M. Quattrini

    A Rhinochimera (Harriotta sp.) swims 10 meters above the seafloor.

    Over the past two days, the remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer explored steep slopes along the west and east walls of Hydrographer Canyon. These represented the first two of many dives in a deepwater submarine canyon for the Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition.

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  • Chemosynthetic Communities and Gas Hydrates at Cold Seeps South of Nantucket

    July 12, 2013  |  By Carolyn Ruppel and Amanda Demopoulos

    Clusters of live Bathymodiolus mussels (left side, foreground, and background) like these were encountered by D2 on both the July 11 and July 12 dives at seep sites south of Nantucket. White cottony coating on some of the mussel shells is from bacteria. Laser dots are 10 centimeters apart.

    On July 11 and July 12, 2013, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer and the Deep Discoverer (D2) remotely operated vehicle targeted seafloor sites located about 165 kilometers south of the island of Nantucket. These dives were the first scientific explorations of newly discovered seeps lying at approximate water depths of 1,100 meters (July 11) and 1,400 meters (July 12). For each of the dives, D2 targeted four sites located at the base of water column bubble plumes on small ridges overlooking unnamed canyons.

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  • Debris, Scarps, and Pockmarks

    July 9 & 10, 2013  |  By Jason Chaytor

    ROV Deep Discoverer (D2) as seen from the camera platform Seirios, investigating boulders at the base of the landslide scarp visited during Dive 01.

    Dives 01 and 02 of the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition 2013 explored areas of interest to the U.S. Geological Survey Marine Hazard Group in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, as part of the ongoing assessment of the submarine landslides along the continental margin offshore the U.S. east coast and their potential role in generating tsunamis.

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  • Kickoff of the 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition

    July 8, 2013  |  By Kelley Elliott and Kasey Cantwell

    NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research’s ROV team prepares the ROV Deep Discoverer for the first dive of the mission.

    NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer departed her homeport of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, today, kicking off the 2013 Northeast Canyons Expedition. Ship- and shore-based personnel spent the day preparing for the first dive and going over safety items and equipment checks. Science team members held dive-planning meetings and were trained on collaboration tools and remotely operated vehicle control room protocols.

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