Platforms: Submersibles

Over the last few decades, engineers have developed submersible technologies capable of meeting the many challenges that the deep sea imposes upon explorers. Using advanced submersible technologies, remarkable new deep-water ecosystems have been discovered. Many of these communities were believed not to exist in harsh environments devoid of light and under crushing pressure. One such community was found in an area surrounding a hydrothermal vent, where water temperatures reach hundreds of degrees Centigrade and the water is bathed in caustic sulfur. After preliminary studies, which discovered many new species and raised even more questions about these organisms, researchers declared these communities to be as complex as many found on land.

As much as we may learn about our planet's underwater habitats through the use of satellites, shipboard sensors and divers, these technologies scratch only the surface of the oceans. Submersibles alone enable us to explore the abyssal depths. This section of the site highlights some of the major advancements in submersible technology. These submersibles allow us to travel deeper and with a greater degree of freedom than ever before, so that we can observe, describe and ultimately explain the phenomena of life in the deep ocean realm.