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.
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.
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.
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.