2019 Southeastern U.S. Deep-sea Exploration - Remotely Operated Vehicle and Mapping Operations

Mission Logs

Follow along as participants in the cruise provide updates and reflections on their experiences, the science, the technology, and other elements of the expedition.

  • Expedition Summary

    October 5-November 20, 2019

    Map of the data collected and the ROV dive sites explored during the 2019 Southeastern U.S. Deep-sea Exploration.

    The 2019 Southeastern U.S. Deep-sea Exploration was a 43-day, two-part expedition led by the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. Its purpose was to collect critical baseline information about largely unexplored deepwater areas of the Southeastern U.S. continental margin. It addressed scientific themes and priority areas suggested by scientists and managers from NOAA, management agencies in the region, other federal agencies, and the ocean science community. During this expedition off the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, the expedition team mapped and explored a variety of habitats and features, including coral mounds, terraces, slopes, escarpments, and boulders.

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  • The Challenges of ROV Operations in the Southeastern United States

    November 18, 2019 | By Chris Ritter

    Imaged by its camera sled ROV Seirios, ROV Deep Discoverer explores some interesting, yet potentially dangerous geology, on the Pourtalès Terrace during Dive 10 of the 2019 Southeastern U.S. Deep-sea Exploration.

    Whenever NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer plans to explore off the southeast coast of the United States, we know there will be challenges. No matter how much we anticipate and plan for them, it’s always disappointing when we’re unable to deploy the remotely operated vehicles (ROV) and share the wonders of the deep with scientists and other dedicated followers who join us live online. The 2019 Southeastern U.S. Deep-sea Exploration cruise has certainly had its fair share of challenges and lost dive days. Here’s a little insight into the factors that have been guiding our dive/no dive decisions.

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  • Students Are the Link Between Deep-Sea Exploration and STEM Innovation

    November 14, 2019 | By Debi Blaney

    In this illustration, remotely operated vehicles Deep Discoverer and Seirios explore the seafloor and water column.

    This expedition and others offer unique opportunities for explorers of all ages to experience deep-sea exploration in real time through our live streams. By allowing them to share in the wonder of discovery and the fascination of science in action, we hope to inspire interest and curiosity in young minds for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and STEM careers.

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  • Not Your Average Sponges

    November 11, 2019 | By Maria Cristina Diaz and Shirley Pomponi

    This glass sponge (Aphrocallistes beatrix) was seen during Dive 02 of the 2019 Southeastern U.S. Deep-sea Exploration.
    This glass sponge (Euplectellidae) was seen during Dive 05 of the 2019 Southeastern U.S. Deep-sea Exploration.

    This has been quite an exciting expedition when it comes to sponges. We have seen, sampled, or collected in their entirety a number of particularly interesting and abundant sponges, some of which may represent new species or range extensions (i.e., we are seeing known species in places they have not been seen before) and that in some cases also have cultural or medical significance. A few of them are highlighted in this log.

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  • Searching for Historic Deep-sea Mining Impacts on the Blake Plateau

    November 7, 2019 | By Jason Chaytor, Michael Rasser, Mark Mueller, Alden Denny, Amy Gartman, and Amanda Demopoulos

    Most of the seafloor explored during Dive 07 of the 2019 Southeastern U.S. Deep-sea Exploration was covered with these manganese nodules, the subject of the Deep Sea Ventures pilot test nearly five decades ago.

    Fifty years ago, the company Deep Sea Ventures Inc. performed extensive exploration and a pilot test of deep-sea mining technology on the Blake Plateau. The mining activities at this site were never intended for commercial mining, but rather to test mining equipment. In 1982, the U.S. Geological Survey revisited the site as part of a larger effort to understand the distribution of mineral deposits on the Blake Plateau and the nature of the seafloor environments in which they were located. And, continuing on past efforts to survey the Blake Plateau, the 2019 Southeastern U.S. Deep-sea Exploration team will conduct mapping and remotely operated vehicle operations in order to gather baseline data on the deep-sea benthic environment of the area.

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  • Happy World Jellyfish Day

    November 3, 2019 | By Christa Rabenold

    A colorful jelly extends its tentacles to feed in the water column during a Windows to the Deep 2019 midwater transect.

    Today is World Jellyfish Day. In honor of the occasion, let’s review a few fun facts about jellyfish and take a look at some of the jellies we've encountered on previous expeditions.

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  • Returning to the Southeast: A Visual Preview

    November 1, 2019 | By Christa Rabenold

    This basket star perched on a bamboo coral was observed during Windows to the Deep 2018.
    This octopus was seen making its way across the seafloor during Windows to the Deep 2019.

    Today is the first remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dive of the 2019 Southeastern U.S. Deep-sea Exploration. Like on other NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer expeditions, we have our sights set on deepwater areas that have not yet been explored. We are just beginning to understand our deep ocean and the resources that lie within it. With each expedition, we add to our knowledge about these resources and further our abilities to understand, manage, and protect them.

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