Living Fossils of the Atacama Trench

Expedition dates: May 24 - June 6, 2024 The Atacama in northern Chile is the oldest and driest desert on Earth. While tectonic activity reconfigured the shape and arrangement of land masses over the last 150 million years, the Atacama Desert remained essentially at the same latitude. And, offshore, where the desert meets the sea, … Continued

Microbes in Oxygen Minimum Zones

Expedition dates: April 12 - May 15, 2024 Oxygen Minimum Zones, or OMZs, are areas in the water column with less oxygen, primarily due to naturally occurring physical and biological processes within the Ocean. The core of the OMZs is anoxic, making them inhospitable to most large animals, yet microbes have adapted to live and … Continued

Unexplored Seamounts of the Salas y Gómez Ridge

Expedition dates: Feb. 24 - Apr. 4, 2024 The Salas y Gómez Ridge extends off the coast of Chile to Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, in the Central Pacific. Created by volcanism, these underwater mountains provide essential habitats for deep-sea organisms, supporting some of the highest marine endemism globally. Many of the species … Continued

Seamounts of the Southeast Pacific

Expedition dates: Jan. 8 - Feb. 11, 2024 Underwater mountains, or seamounts, are remarkable features on the seafloor, playing an integral role in oceanic processes and connectivity. Rising up from the depths, seamounts create complex current patterns that influence what lives on and above them. They are an oasis for deep-sea communities, providing food, shelter, … Continued

Octopus Odyssey (too)

Expedition dates: December 2nd- December 15th, 2023 In June of 2023, Co-chief Scientists Dr. Beth Orcutt of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences (USA) and Dr. Jorge Cortés of the Universidad de Costa Rica and an international team traveled to the Dorado Outcrop– Earth’s first-ever-discovered octopus nursery. One of their goals was to determine if … Continued

Ultra Fine-Scale Seafloor Mapping

Expedition dates: October 25 - November 23, 2023 Seafloor mapping is integral to oceanographic research. Bathymetric data illustrate the seafloor’s depth, contours, and physical features, and it is often the first essential step in planning a successful submersible operation. The typical tool for seafloor mapping, multibeam sonar, creates three-dimensional topographical outlines—rather than visual images. Physical … Continued

Vertical Reefs of the Galápagos

Expedition dates: September 18 - October 19, 2023 The Galápagos Islands are home to a dazzling array of cold-water corals. While they are understudied compared to the shallow-water corals, a subset of these deep-dwelling animals is even more shrouded in mystery—cold-water corals living on cliffs. The depth and inaccessibility of vertical corals to ship-based sensors … Continued

Dynamics of Sinking Microplastics

Expedition dates: August 2 - August 7, 2023 Plastic pollution is pervasive in our Ocean. The most prevalent component of plastic pollution isn’t large pieces of trash floating on the surface, but tiny bits of waste called “microplastics” that are found throughout the water column. Ranging from 5 mm in diameter (a pencil eraser) down … Continued

Hydrothermal Vents of the Western Galápagos

Expedition dates: August 13 - September 10, 2023 In 1977, scientists at the Eastern Galápagos Spreading Center uncovered an ecosystem that changed our conception of life—hydrothermal vents. In the crushing darkness of the deep sea, life thrives on these vents as bacteria facilitate a whole food web by converting chemicals, rather than sunlight, into energy. … Continued

The Underworld of Hydrothermal Vents

Expedition dates: June 29 - July 28, 2023 An important mechanism in ocean ecology is dispersal—– tides, currents, winds, and waves move larvae from one place to another with the potential to create new communities. While dispersal is well studied and understood in shallow ecosystems, how dispersal works for many hydrothermal vent species is yet … Continued