2023 EXPRESS: West Coast Exploration (AUV and Mapping)



November 30 - December 8, 2023


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer


Pacific Ocean - coast of California

Primary Goals

Increase mapping coverage off the coast of California, with a focus on waters deeper than 200 meters (656 feet); test autonomous underwater vehicle operations; test camera and sensor system deployment

Primary Technologies

Multibeam sonar, autonomous underwater vehicles Eagle Ray and Mola Mola, Maka Niu deep-sea camera and sensor system

Expedition Overview

From November 30 - December 8, 2023, NOAA Ocean Exploration and partners conducted an expedition off the coast of California to conduct mapping operations and test technologies for exploring our ocean. During the expedition, testing of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) Eagle Ray and Mola Mola, started during the previous expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, continued in partnership with the NOAA Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute. The team also tested the use of the Ocean Discovery League’s modular drop camera system, Maka Niu, and deployed six weather drifters for the National Weather Service's Ocean Prediction Center/Global Drifter Program Lagrangian Drifter Laboratory. Additionally, mapping operations were conducted during the expedition, focusing on filling bathymetric gaps in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, primarily in waters greater than 200 meters (656 feet) depth.

Exploration Team

Naming every participant in a telepresence-enabled expedition is next to impossible, as scientists from around the world have provided input into the expedition plan. However, we've gathered information about the members of the team who are sailing on the ship and participating in the expedition from sea – meet the team!

Kasey Cantwell

Kasey Cantwell

Expedition Coordinator
Shannon Hoy

Shannon Hoy

Expedition Mapping Lead, Expedition Coordinator Team Lead
Leonardo Macelloni

Leonardo Macelloni

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Team Lead
Katy Croff Bell

Katy Croff Bell

Founder and President, Ocean Discovery League

Education Content

Education theme pages provide the best of what the NOAA Ocean Exploration website has to offer to support educators in the classroom during this expedition. Each theme page includes expedition features, lessons, multimedia, career information, and associated past expeditions.

Data from NOAA Ocean Exploration’s 2023 EXPRESS: West Coast Exploration (AUV and Mapping) expedition will contribute to the National Strategy for Exploring, Mapping, and Characterizing the United States Exclusive Economic Zone, Seabed 2030, the interagency EXpanding Pacific Research and Exploration of Submerged Systems (EXPRESS) campaign, and the America the Beautiful initiative.

Data collected during all expeditions will be available in NOAA's public data archives within 120 days of its completion and will be accessible via the NOAA Ocean Exploration Data Atlas.

Published February 1, 2024