Windows to the Deep 2021: Southeast U.S. ROV and Mapping
October 26 - November 15, 2021
Livestream and Updates
During this expedition, we mapped and explored a variety of habitats and features in areas along the Southeast U.S. continental margin identified by the ocean management and scientific communities. Findings from this expedition build on our previous expeditions in the region. Collectively, these expeditions have contributed greatly to what we now know about environments along the southeastern edge of our continent.
NOAA Ocean Exploration Meets Major Mapping Milestone on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
Two million square kilometers. Or 772,204 square miles. That’s more than one quarter the size of the contiguous United States. And it’s the area of seafloor mapped by NOAA Ocean Exploration using the modern, high-resolution multibeam sonar system aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer since the ship was commissioned in 2008.
It’s not every dive that deep-sea explorers encounter a bigfin squid (Magnapinna sp.). It’s actually pretty unusual; roughly a dozen sightings have been confirmed worldwide. So, when we captured an adult bigfin squid on camera during Dive 10 of Windows to the Deep 2021 off the West Florida Escarpment in the Gulf of Mexico, it was quite an exciting moment.
What Are Sclerites?
Sclerites are part of the microskeleton of an octocoral that provides support and protection. Because they are so varied in shape, size, and abundance in the tissue, they are used by taxonomists to help sort out the diversity of octocoral species.
The Challenges of ROV Operations in the Southeastern United States
Whenever NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer plans to explore off the southeast coast of the United States, we know there will be challenges.
November 1, 2021
Discovery of SS Bloody Marsh
On October 28, 2021, NOAA Ocean Exploration discovered the likely wreck of SS Bloody Marsh, an oil tanker sunk off the coast of South Carolina by a German U-boat in 1943.
October 28, 2021
What is Vertical Migration of Zooplankton and Why Does it Matter?
Every day, billions and billions of animals, mostly zooplankton (e.g., smallish animals, including fish, various shrimp, and jellies), migrate up and down in the ocean all over the planet. That’s a lot of movement. Scientists call it diel vertical migration, or DVM for short. But why does it happen?
Search for SS Bloody Marsh
Between 1942 and 1943, Germany sent a fleet of U-boats to the shores of the United States to target merchant shipping vessels resupplying Europe. During this time, numerous oil tankers and freighters were sunk, many in deep water, that today have still yet to be located. One of these was SS Bloody Marsh, sunk on July 2, 1943 by U-66.
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
As the only U.S. federal vessel dedicated to exploration of our largely unknown ocean, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer travels the globe to increase our understanding of the deep ocean.
Remotely Operated Vehicle Deep Discoverer
Capable of diving to depths of 3.7 miles (6,000 meters), Deep Discoverer provides scientists unprecedented access to the deep ocean.
Remotely Operated Vehicle Seirios
Much like its namesake, Seirios acts as a brilliant source of light in the “night sky” of the ocean, providing illumination and a wide-angle view from above for its counterpart remotely operated vehicle, Deep Discoverer.
October 31 - November 20, 2019
2019 Southeastern U.S. Deep-Sea Exploration – Remotely Operated Vehicle and Mapping Operations
NOAA and partners conducted mapping and remotely operated vehicle operations from NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect baseline information about unknown and poorly understood deepwater areas of the Southeastern U.S. continental margin.
May 30 - July 12, 2019
Windows to the Deep 2019: Exploration of the Deep-Sea Habitats of the Southeast United States
NOAA and partners conducted 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.
May 22 - July 2, 2018
Windows to the Deep 2018: Exploration of the Southeast U.S. Continental Margin
NOAA and partners conducted 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.
About the Expedition
From October 26 to November 15, NOAA Ocean Exploration and partners conducted a telepresence-enabled ocean exploration expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. The Windows to the Deep 2021: Southeast ROV and Mapping expedition collected critical information about unexplored and poorly understood deepwater areas of the Blake Plateau region of the North Atlantic Ocean. This foundational information will encourage further exploration and research and inform resource management decisions and activities in the region.
During Windows to the Deep 2021, at-sea and shore-based science teams worked together to explore and map the seafloor and the water column. Our 24-hour operations included ROV dives during the day and mapping operations at night. We used the state-of-the-art deepwater mapping systems on Okeanos Explorer, our dual-bodied ROV system that can dive to depths of 6,000 meters (3.7 miles), and a high-bandwidth satellite connection for real-time ship-to-shore communications.Read more
- Allen Collins, Biology Science Lead
- Stephanie Farrington, Biology Science Lead
- Matt Dornback, Expedition Coordinator
- Derek Sowers, Mapping Lead
- Samuel Candio, Mapping Lead
Key Expedition Themes
- Blake Plateau deepwater mapping
- Coral and sponge communities
- Life in the water column
- Resource management support
Data collected during the expedition will be available in NOAA’s public data archives within 60-90 days of its completion and will be accessible via the NOAA Ocean Exploration Data Atlas.