DISCOVRE Expedition

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The NOAA RV Nancy Foster is now on her fourth leg of deep-water ROV work in the Gulf of Mexico. Things have been steadily improving. The first leg was cancelled due to Hurricane Ike, the second leg braved a storm or two, the third met with calm weather. Our Lophelia II expedition was hosted at DSN and NOAA’s Ocean Explorer website. When we disembarked in Pascagoula, MS, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) took over the fourth leg, now hosting the DISCOVRE Expedition website.

The daily blog posts are written by seasoned deep-sea professionals including DSN sweetheart Christina Kellogg and UNC-Wilmington Chief Scientist Dr. Steve Ross. Steve’s cruise log is particularly interesting if you dig deep fish and fish habitat. Here’s a quote:

…there appear to be definite depth zones for deep-sea fishes (vertical
zonation) but that fish communities seem very similar over great
distances in the same depth range (lack of horizontal zonation). But,
such long standing concepts in deep-sea biology usually resulted from
sampling gear like trawls and dredges, … more direct observation data (from manned submersibles or remote
operated vehicles, ROVs) are changing some of these views …

Sounds like the robot’s been working for them. That’s good news. The international crew deployed some benthic photolanders, too. See the picture. And read up. This is cutting edge stuff that won’t be out in journals for years to come. Stay tuned for more at USGS. – PJE

Peter Etnoyer (397 Posts)

PhD candidate at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi and doctoral fellow Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.