Seascape Alaska 5: Gulf of Alaska Remotely Operated Vehicle Exploration and Mapping
August 23 - September 16, 2023
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
Gulf of Alaska
The Seascape Alaska 5 expedition will commence on August 23, 2023, in Kodiak, Alaska, and conclude on September 16, 2023, in Seward, Alaska. The team will work to fill gaps in our understanding of the region by conducting focused mapping and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) operations. Operations will focus on exploring deep waters greater than 200 meters (656 feet) for mapping operations and 250 meters (820 feet) for ROV operations in U.S. waters, the high seas, and Canadian waters off Alaska.
Mapping operations will serve as the basis for planning and executing ROV dives during the expedition. Given the sparsity of mapping data in the region, in many instances, the team will follow a “map and dive” approach, collecting mapping data the night before a dive to guide the path of the ROV on a dive taking place the following morning. These mapping data will also inform future exploration efforts, be used to establish a baseline assessment of the ocean environment, increase understanding of marine life and habitats to inform management decisions, and increase public awareness of ocean issues.
Over the course of the expedition, we will conduct ROV dives at depths ranging from approximately 200 to 6,000 meters (656 to 19,685 feet) to explore deep-sea coral and sponge habitats, fish habitats, chemosynthetic communities, and the water column and to improve knowledge of past and potential geohazards. Thanks to telepresence technology, anyone with an internet connection is invited to watch and listen as members of the science community actively engage and guide each dive.
All things permitting, dives will be streamed live daily, August 24 - September 15, from approximately 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. AKDT / 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. EDT. Note that dates and times are subject to change.
Despite contributing the largest area to the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and playing a critical role in our nation’s economy and national security, deep waters around Alaska remain one of the least explored areas in the United States. Approximately 34% of the seafloor around Alaska has been mapped to modern standards and just a fraction of that has been visually surveyed. Yet we know that Alaskan waters hold vast resources and support stunning and important ecosystems — from diverse coral and sponge communities to commercially important invertebrates and fish, and more. Increasing our understanding of where these features and fauna are found; how they operate; and how they are connected to each other, the greater environment, and to humans is critical to sustainably managing and protecting these areas.
All of the 2023 Seascape Alaska expeditions are being planned and conducted from a place of respect for and recognition of the Indigenous peoples of Alaska and their connection to and knowledge of the ecosystems that sustain livelihoods, traditions, and communities. By communicating and engaging with tribal communities about the work being conducted, we hope to gain insight to continually improve how NOAA partners with local and indigenous communities, approaches the acknowledgement and incorporation of indigenous knowledge in our work, and ensures the wise use and conservation of the state’s marine resources.
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.
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 assembled information about the members of the team who are sailing on the ship and participating in the expedition from sea – meet the team!
- 2023 Seascape Alaska Expeditions (EX2302-EX2308)
- NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer: 2023 Expeditions Overview
- Introducing Seascape Alaska
NOAA Ocean Exploration’s 2023 Seascape Alaska expeditions will contribute to the National Strategy for Exploring, Mapping, and Characterizing the United States Exclusive Economic Zone, Seabed 2030, and multipartner Seascape Alaska campaign, which has been endorsed by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO as part of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030.
Published August 17, 2023