In June, Falkor will return to the Phoenix Islands under Chief Scientist Randi Rotjan. The scientific objectives include continuing to investigate deep-sea microbes’ therapeutic potential; examining how ancient cold water corals survive predation by corallivores; and enquiring into the equator’s effect on the ecology of deep coral and sponge communities.
Far offshore Queensland Australia, in the Coral Sea Marine Park, is a seafloor full of clues for understanding the complex geologic history of the Australia and the submerged Zealandia continent.
Schmidt Ocean Institute in partnership with The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030, alongside collaborating researchers from Australia, will bring in the New Year on a mission– mapping significant areas of the seafloor of the Tasman and Coral Seas, offshore Queensland, Australia.
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 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.
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 reducing costs of acquisition.
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.
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 1888 Ritter Island (Papua New Guinea) landslide was the largest historical volcanic-island landslide ever recorded and generated a devastating regional tsunami.
Ashmore Reef Marine Park 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.