Led by Dr. Dr. Julie Trotter from the University of Western Australia, the science team will undertake the first ROV-based deep sea exploration of submarine canyons offshore of southwestern Australia. Building on the success of the 2015 expedition to Perth Canyon that identified the in deep-sea habitats in the region as highly suitable to discover new life and coral types suitable for paleoclimate reconstructions, the team plans on investigating three submarine canyon systems: Bremer, Leeuwin, and Perth Canyons. Exploration will include documentation, imaging, and strategic sampling of the unexplored deep-sea canyons.
The samples collected will be used for species identification and discovery. The deep-sea corals in this region are particularly significant given their proximity to the all-important Southern Ocean, which plays a critical role in regulated the ocean-climate system. Living and fossil deep-sea corals will be sampled, and post-cruise high-resolution geochemical analyses of coral skeletons will be used to reconstruct recent and long-term ocean environmental records. More information on the expedition website.