Underwater Fire: Studying the Submarine Volcanoes of Tonga

Aboard R/V Falkor, Dr. Ken Rubin and his research team will visit one of the most active underwater volcano sites in the world, the Meta Volcano group. There they will work to obtain a detailed geological understanding of up to 12 different submarine volcanoes, attempting to do this across a suite of volcanos for the very first time.

Discovering Deep Sea Corals of the Phoenix Islands

The Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) is the largest and deepest UNESCO World Heritage Site on Earth. Approximately the size of California, PIPA was the first Marine Protected Area (MPA) of its kind. In October, Dr. Erik Cordes (Temple University) and his team will explore never seen before seamounts and atolls within PIPA with R/V Falkor and ROV SuBastian.

Unraveling Ancient Sea Level Secrets

In an innovative whole-reef approach, scientists will sail on Falkor this August and September for a 29-day expedition to reconstruct past sea levels in the Pacific. Falkor will sail along the central Hawaiian Islands and Line Islands in a two-part expedition using both an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) SuBastian.

Deep Coral Diversity at Emperor Seamount

This expedition will feature exploration of the Emperor Seamount Chain while researching biodiversity and its drivers. Using currents, mapping, and radio isotopes to track water masses – as well as genetic sampling of corals – the team will determine the driving force behind coral distribution in this region.

Microplastics of the Alaskan Gulf

R/V Falkor travels from Oregon up to the Alaskan Gulf on an expedition to better characterize organisms in the Abyssal Plain region and determine the extent microplastics can be found in these deep systems.

Exploring the Mariana Trench

The very deepest reaches of the sea are one of the planet’s last true frontiers. In November, RV Falkor sailed to the Mariana Trench with a group of biologists and geologists to conduct a new study of one of the deepest places in the world.

Expanding Mariana Trench Perspectives

December, Falkor returned to the Mariana Trench focusing on collecting trench bacteria, animal samples, and the first-ever recordings of sounds from such depths.

Perth Canyon: First Deep Exploration

Perth Canyon is one of Australia’s subsea treasures. Yet many of its deeper reaches remained unexplored, until Falkor’s visit with a deep-diving ROV. This first survey of life in the canyon provided a baseline of deep corals, which will aid in determining the likely future impacts of warming seas and ocean acidification.

Leg Two, Open Ocean to Inner Sea

The expedition’s second leg focused on gathering video records of the life found in and around lower-oxygen zones using the ROV ROPOS.