Ice Age Geology of the Great Barrier Reef

The upper continental slope and shelf edge of the southern Great Barrier Reef is largely unknown and poorly mapped. After a successful expedition mapping the northern Great Barrier Reef, R/V Falkor will traverse to the southern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The goal of the expedition is to explore ancient undersea … Continued

Northern Depths of the Great Barrier Reef

The Cape York Peninsula lies in the far northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) Marine Park. The peninsula is one of the most isolated regions of the Australian continent and little is known about what lies in the offshore deeper waters. Scientists consider these deeper waters to be a frontier area of the GBR. Sparse information … Continued

Going with the Flow: Targeted Autonomous Drifting

There are three major issues that limit widespread and frequent seafloor imaging: cost, personnel to operate platforms, and the technical complexity of long-duration vehicles. The engineering team working on this project aim to increase researchers' ability to gather scientifically useful seafloor imagery in coastal and shelf environments with technologies that can increase ease of use while … Continued

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, Robin Beaman, James Cook University, … 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

Seeking Space Rocks

On March 7, 2018 at 8:05 PM local time, a meteorite broke up over the coast of Washington state, raining extraterrestrial rocks down into the ocean. This meteorite fall was detected by weather radars from the nationwide NEXRAD radar network, which recorded images of the falling rocks and data showing that they were composed of an unusually tough meteorite of unknown composition. … 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