Voyage to the Ridge 2022

May 14 - September 2, 2022

Expedition Features

May through September 2022, NOAA and partners will conduct Voyage to the Ridge 2022, a series of three telepresence-enabled ocean exploration expeditions on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer that will include mapping operations and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives to collect baseline information about unexplored and poorly understood deepwater areas of the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and Azores Plateau. View Expedition Overview

A Rarely Seen Sea Urchin Aggregation

Septembr 1, 2022

During Dive 08 of the third expedition of Voyage to the Ridge 2022, remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer was operating in deep waters near St. Croix when it recorded a rarely seen event — a large gathering of the sea urchin Conolampas sigsbei!

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Ship’s Log: Captain Barnacles Joins the Voyage

August 31, 2022

During the third Voyage to the Ridge 2022 expedition, we are lucky enough to be joined by a special guest — Captain Barnacles, captain of the Octonauts and a very brave polar bear. Click on any one of the images below to flip through Captain Barnacles’ adventures and learn more about life as an ocean explorer!

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What is Sargassum and How Does It Impact Ship Operations?

August 31, 2022

If you watched (or tried to watch!) any of the dives this past week, you likely heard the word “Sargassum” come up more than once. During our remotely operated vehicle operations in the waters around Puerto Rico, an excess of Sargassum has forced us to move to alternative dive sites as well as to cancel dives altogether. But what is Sargassum, and how can something so unassuming be powerful enough to affect a ship?

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Returning to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

August 25, 2022

From August 25 through September 1, 2022, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer will be conducting remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives in U.S. waters in the vicinity of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The original plan for this period of time, part of the third Voyage to the Ridge 2022 expedition, was to stay within the Mid-Atlantic Ridge region. However, unexpected logistical circumstances meant that operations along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge had to be cut short so that the ship could return to port.

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A View From Above

August 24, 2022

If you watched some of the livestreamed dive during Voyage to the Ridge 2022, no doubt you were wowed by some of the amazing imagery collected via ROV Deep Discoverer. But have you gotten acquainted with the views from ROV Seirios?

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What is the deep scattering layer?

August 9, 2022

The deep scattering layer (or DSL) is a region in the water column where there is a high density of marine organisms that reflect sound.

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The Fishy Faces of the MARNA Marine Protected Area

August 3, 2022

Fish are an important component of deep-ocean ecosystems and while they inhabit parts of the ocean, we certainly have dives where we see little to no fish. This was not the case during the first dive of the second second Voyage to the Ridge 2022 expedition. As we explored an unnamed seamount within the OSPAR Mid-Atlantic Ridge North of the Azores (MARNA) marine protected area, we were treated to a diverse array of fish! Let’s meet a few of the fish seen during Dive 01.

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Voyage to the Ridge 2022: Meet the Explorers!

July 27, 2022

On Wednesday, August 3 at 1:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. GMT, join a live discussion featuring mission personnel leading the Voyage to the Ridge 2022 expedition aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer!

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The Case of the Mysterious Holes on the Seafloor

July 27, 2022

During Dive 04 of the second Voyage to the Ridge 2022 expedition, we observed several sublinear sets of holes in the sediment on the seafloor at a depth of approximately 2,540 meters (1.6 miles). While the holes look almost human made, the little piles of sediment around them suggest they had been excavated. We attempted but were not able to take a peek into the holes and poke them with the tools on the remotely operated vehicle. It was also not apparent as to whether the holes were connected beneath the sediment surface.

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The Importance of Building a Database of Information on Deep-Sea Ecosystems and Communities

July 25, 2022

Deep-sea coral and sponge communities, such as those being explored during Voyage to the Ridge 2022, represent some of the most valuable marine ecosystems on Earth. They are also some of the most vulnerable, particularly to human activities such as bottom contact fishing gear, seabed mining, and associated environmental change. Before any such activities take place, we need information about these fragile deep-sea ecosystems, so that we can best mitigate any potential impacts.

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Voyage to the Ridge – Resource Use and Conservation

July 22, 2022

As noted in our introduction to high seas governance feature [link], a patchwork of sectoral organizations exerts fragmented authority over marine areas beyond national jurisdiction. There is no centralized mechanism to protect open ocean areas, and the state of high seas governance has been characterized by Dr. David Freestone as “an unfinished agenda.” Below is a snapshot of the management measures over areas that will be explored during Voyage to the Ridge 2022.

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What Is High Seas Governance?

July 20, 2022

The high seas are defined by international law as all parts of the ocean that aren't included in the exclusive economic zone, the territorial sea, or the internal waters of a country, or in the archipelagic waters of an archipelagic country.

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The Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone: A Jewel in the Mission Blue Crown

July 18, 2022

In this essay, Hope Spot Champion Professor David Johnson relays what makes this deep-sea fracture zone and the life found within it so unique and worth discovering, understanding, and protecting.

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Watch Live: NOAA Explorers Dive Into the Mysteries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge

July 14, 2022

Join us online July 17 through August 28.

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