Fire and Ice: Volcanic and Glacial Interactions

On May 2, 2008, Chile’s Chaitén volcano erupted without warning, spewing ash 30 kilometers into the air.  This ash blanketed the landscape, and heavy rain in the following days triggered devastating volcanic mudflows that flowed down mountainsides and into the fjords below. The nearby town of Chaitén evacuated as the volcano completely transformed the surrounding landscape. While the destruction was easy to observe on land, scientists have not yet closely examined the impacts the eruption had on the surrounding ocean environments. Dr. Sebastian Watt of the University of Birmingham, UK, will lead an international team to study the underwater effects of the Chaitén eruption from the research vessel Falkor (too). Understanding the imprint of the Chaitén eruption in the marine environment will also help unlock deeper-time records of major volcanic eruptions in the region, allowing scientists to reconstruct volcanic behavior in Southern Chile over geologic time. 

High Seas and Seamounts of the Nazca Ridge

8 July - 9 August 2024 #NazcaHighSeas Lush forests of deep-sea corals and sponges host animals and organisms that defy imagination. Many endangered or threatened species like sea turtles, blue whales, and rays travel here to feed on the abundant nutrients upwelling from the deep. The 8000-meter-deep Atacama Trench, the Southeast Pacific Oxygen Minimum Zone, … Continued

Journey to the Nazca Ridge

Expedition dates: July 6 - Aug. 9, 2024 Numerous species, including seabirds, whales, and sea turtles,  likely utilize the nutrient-rich waters circulating through Peru’s Nazca Ridge National Reserve for sustenance. Still, little is known about what lives in this Ocean region. An unknown number of prominent seamounts with peaks ranging from 1870 to 1903  meters … Continued

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