As the #SeaLevelSecrets cruise comes to an end, we look back at this scientific expedition. Technology was used in pioneering ways – including a robotic sonar mapping platform and advanced remotely-operated vehicle – to discover evidence of past sea level change in Hawaii and around the Pacific. In doing so, the crew sailed along the central Hawaiian Islands and Line Islands in a two-part expedition using both an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV REMUS) and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) SuBastian.
In an innovative whole-reef approach, the team used unprecedented methods and techniques, including the first use of a large, full-ocean depth ROV for geological mapping and sampling in scuba-inaccessible shallow seas, which required coordinated efforts to control the ship and ROV in potentially treacherous waters. Another important breakthrough was the first whole-reef reconstruction of an Ice Age coral reef at Penguin Bank, off the Hawaiian island of Molokai, where the team collected sonar, visual documentation, and rock specimen data.