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The Value of Ocean Exploration
Video courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Windows to the Deep 2019. Download larger version (mp4, 240.5 MB).

The Windows to the Deep 2019 expedition was a two-part, telepresence-enabled ocean exploration expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect information about unknown and poorly understood deepwater areas off the southeastern United States. Though the U.S. East Coast is home to millions of Americans and is experiencing some of the highest population growth rates in the United States, the deepwater areas offshore Florida up to Delaware are some of the least-explored areas along this coast.

Through data collected during the first leg, which focused on mapping operations, and the second expedition leg, which included mapping as well as 19 remotely operated vehicle dives, we expanded our understanding of the diversity and extent of deep-sea coral and sponge communities in the region; investigated potential seep sites to better understand these unique habitats; and mapped, surveyed, and sampled geological features, including submarine canyons. On this, our 100th mission collecting ocean exploration data via the Okeanos Explorer, we collected data that will provide valuable information for guiding or influencing decisions needed to maintain a healthy ocean, sustainably manage our marine resources, accelerate our national economy, and build a better appreciation of the value and importance of the ocean in our everyday lives.