Seamounts, Canyons & Reefs of the Coral Sea

As ocean temperatures increase, a pressing global challenge in marine science is to better understand the distribution and characteristics of the critical habitats that support mesophotic and deep-water coral communities. Following the previous Visioning the Coral Sea Marine Park expedition, a similar team of scientists led by Drs. Brendan Brooke, Geoscience Australia, and Robin Beaman, James Cook … Continued

Visioning the Coral Sea Marine Park

Within Australia’s largest marine reserve, the recently established Coral Sea Marine Park, lies the Queensland Plateau, one of the world’s largest continental margin plateaus at nearly 300,000 square kilometers. The plateau contains 30 large coral atolls including the famed Osprey Reef, Lihou Reef, and Diamond Islets. Here a wide variety of reef systems range from … Continued

Reconstructing Ritter

The 1888 Ritter Island (Papua New Guinea) landslide was the largest historical volcanic-island landslide ever recorded and generated a devastating regional tsunami. Dr. Sebastian Watt (University of Birmingham) and his international team of researchers are joining R/V Falkor to reconstruct in detail the dynamics of the Ritter landslide event while also documenting the re-establishment of … Continued

Australian Mesophotic Coral Examination

The North West Shelf of Australia is home to unique  coral ecosystems: Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems (MCEs). While the waters of Australia are famous for shallower coral systems such as the Great Barrier Reef, MCEs there (and around the globe) remain largely unknown and undocumented. MCEs exist at depths between 30-150m, and recently their study has … Continued

Observing Seafloor Methane Seeps at the Edge of Hydrate Stability

Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, but exists at far lower concentrations in the atmosphere. Many think of methane as a free-floating gas so it can be a surprise to learn that nearly one-fifth of the Earth’s methane is stored beneath the ocean’s waters in marine sediments in the form of … Continued

Microbial Mysteries: Linking Microbial Communities and Environmental Drivers

The Gulf of California is a young ocean undergoing changes including active seafloor spreading, early rifting, and large-scale hydrothermal activity. The rare combination of geological dynamics present in the Gulf of California makes it an ideal place to advance our understanding of deep ocean hydrothermal ecosystems. The basin offers a natural laboratory for investigating changes … Continued

Voyage to the White Shark Café

The Mariana region is home to the Mariana subduction system. This November, scientists shed light on the Mariana back-arc spreading center looking for new sites of hydrothermal activity.

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.

Searching for Life in the Mariana Back-Arc

The Mariana region is home to the Mariana subduction system. This November, scientists shed light on the Mariana back-arc spreading center looking for new sites of hydrothermal activity.

Ecosystem Dynamics of Hydrothermal Vent Communities

In the deep sea, hydrothermal vents are biologically important, harboring massive animal communities at densities that make them one of the most productive ecosystems on Earth. All this biomass exists thousands of feet below the sea surface and, unlike most communities, which rely on sunlight, the food web of hydrothermal vents is based on tiny … Continued