Scientists aboard the NOAA ship Nancy Foster have just returned from exploring the vast submarine canyons off the U.S. East Coast. This research expedition, co-led by Dr. Sandra Brooke, our Director of Coral Conservation, yielded new deep-sea coral populations, discovery of a potentially new species of mussel, and a newly rediscovered methane seep ---- last seen more than 30 years ago.
|The ROV Kraken II emerging from the depths|
Last year, Dr. Brooke and her collaborator, Dr. Steve Ross of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, collected high-resolution seafloor maps of Baltimore and Norfolk canyons. These maps helped them guide the remotely operated vehicle Kraken II (U. Connecticut) during 30 dives to explore unknown habitats and historic shipwrecks, record high-definition video, and collect samples for research. The scientists also deployed sophisticated tools to collect environmental data and samples, and conduct experiments.
The canyons off the coasts of Virginia, Delaware and Maryland
---- which are ancient river valleys ---- now support unique and bio-diverse habitats, as well as a number of productive commercial fisheries. They are also potential areas for oil and gas exploration, so managing the canyons is increasingly urgent. To learn more, read the Nancy Foster's expedition blog to understand how the researchers, crew, and support team conduct their work.
|This Venus flytrap anemone is one of the mysterious|
and beautiful creatures of the deep canyons
Marine Conservation Institute's Deep Sea Coral program is committed to identifying deep sea coral habitats, and working to better protect them. With your help, we will share these exciting findings with agencies, and work together to better protect these deep-sea treasures. Please support this vital effort with your generous donations.
And, to meet Sandra and hear her stories of deep sea exploration, join Marine Conservation Institute and Travel Dynamics on a February 2013 cruise of Belize and Guatemala! The trip will include snorkeling and Scuba opportunities, rainforests and birdwatching, and Central America's Mayan heritage. It's a trip you don't want to miss, so sign up now.