2018 DEEPSEARCH Atlantis Expedition: Underway

AT 41 – 20 August 2018

Continental margins across the globe are home to diverse seafloor habitats. The Deep Search research consortium explores three key margin habitats – Canyons, Cold Seeps, and Corals. The Deep Search study area encompasses sites located along the shallow and deep slope from the Florida-Georgia border and north to the canyons offshore Virginia. These seafloor habitats are home to diverse biological communities that are inextricably linked with the overlying water column. Margin habitats provide many ecosystem services that many people are not aware of.

Yesterday, August 19th, marked the start of the first of three Deep Search expeditions which will take place in the coming 8 months. Conducting research at sea is not easy: months are spent picking the research sites and discussing the details of the sampling scheme. Plans for developed, re-hashed, and re-written. Finally, there is an expedition plan and an exhaustive list of collections and analyses that will be performed on each sample collected.

On Thursday and Friday, August 16th and 17th, a diverse team of scientists from across the US, gathered in Woods Hole, Massachusetts to load their research gear onto the R/V Atlantis for a 2-week “Deep Search” expedition. The R/V Atlantis is a global class research vessel; it is also the mother ship to the human occupied vehicle (HOV), ALVIN. The HOV ALVIN is one of the most widely recognized vehicles for science in the world. We have 12 ALVIN dives planned for this expedition. The vast majority of these study sites have not been visited by humans in a manned submersible and the Deep Search team is excited see what is there!

This morning at 0530, the Atlantis set sail for our first dive site: Wilmington Canyon. I will be sharing news of our dives and shipboard adventures over the coming days. As we made our way from Woods Hole, we passed Martha’s Vineward on a stormy morning.

Follow our expedition here, on this blog, on NOAA’s Ocean Explorer web site, https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/18deepsearch/welcome.html, or on Twitter: @OceanDeepSearch, @DeepseaECOGIG, @BOEM_DOI, @oceanexplorer, @thenopp, @USGS, @CordesLab, @ademopoulos, @SeepExplorer, @c_m_dangelo or by searching for the hashtag #DeepSearch.