The essays below will help you to understand the goals and objectives of the mission and provide additional context and information about the places being explored and the science, tools, and technologies being used.
Download the expedition fact sheet (pdf, 2.1 MB).
By Kasey Cantwell, Cheryl Morrison, and Leslie Sautter
From May 22 through July 2, 2018, NOAA and partners will conduct 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. During the Windows to the Deep 2018: Exploration of the Southeast U.S. Continental Margin expedition, our at-sea and shore-based science teams will work together to map the seafloor and make some of the first deepwater observations in these areas.Read more
By Elizabeth “Meme” Lobecker
From May 22 - June 6, 2018, 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 was the first part of the two-part Windows to the Deep 2018: Exploration of the Southeast U.S. Continental Margin expedition intended to increase our understanding of the deep-sea environment along the southeast United States.Read more
By Cheryl Morrison
During the Windows to the Deep 2018: Exploration of the Southeast U.S. Continental Margin expedition, the mission team plans to visit two potential cold seep sites in or near canyons off the North Carolina coast. Cold seeps occur where highly saline and hydrocarbon-rich fluids, such as methane and sulfides, escape from the seafloor at close to ambient temperatures.Read more
By Leslie Sautter
During the Windows to the Deep 2018: Exploration of the Southeast U.S. Continental Margin expedition, we will explore a variety of seafloor habitats. Many of these habitats are present as a result of the seabed’s geology, which ranges from vast, undulating expanses of sand, to nearly vertical rocks. To understand the foundation of the sites we’ll visit, let’s first look at the configuration of the entire region off the coast from North Carolina to Florida, referred to as the Southeast U.S. Continental Margin.Read more
By Amanda Demopoulos, Benthic Research Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey
Submarine canyons are found throughout the world, representing complex seafloor features that link the upper continental shelf to the abyssal plain. They punctuate the margin by incising the shelf, creating scenic seascapes reminiscent of their terrestrial counterparts.Read more
By Daniel Wagner
In 2016, NOAA launched a new four-year initiative to study deep-sea coral and sponge ecosystems across the Southeast United States, a region that includes the U.S. federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic Bight, and Caribbean Sea. This multidisciplinary effort, known as the Southeast Deep Coral Initiative (SEDCI), is led by a NOAA team from multiple line offices that work in close collaboration with partners from federal and academic institutions. Funding for SEDCI activities is provided primarily by NOAA through the Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program.Read more