Mytilus Seamount and Northeast Canyons


From July to August 2013, a team of scientists and technicians at sea and on shore will explore the diversity and distribution of deep-sea habitats off the Northeast Coast of the U.S. The 36-day expedition includes two cruises featuring a live video strem to scientists and the public, one to the Mytilus Seamount and the second to canyons along the continental shelf slope.


During these missions, the teams will collect critical data and information for the science and management communities, specifically targeting areas where both cold seep and coral communities are likely to occur. In addition, they will survey locations where landslides may have occurred in the past or will likely occur to further understanding of the region's dynamic geologic and oceanographic processes of the region.

The need to learn more about relatively undisturbed ecosystems in these locations is becoming more urgent, particularly as fishing practices, mining activities, and hydrocarbon exploration extend into the deep sea. Increasing baseline knowledge while also discovering new habitats will ultimately benefit the conservation and preservation of these remarkable ecosystems.

Locations for this community-driven expedition were identified based on discussions and information stemming from the May 2011 Atlantic Basin Workshop (pdf) and other NOAA programs and the management community. Using this input, and data acquired during previous Atlantic Canyon Undersea Mapping Expeditions (ACUMEN Project), NOAA and the science community identified several exciting targets of exloration during the two cruise legs.

The expedition also marks the first time NOAA’s new 6,000-meter remotely operated vehicle (ROV), Deep Discoverer and Seirios camera sled will be deployed to enable telepresence ocean exploration from the research vessel Okeanos Explorer. With these, the team will provide scientific and public the audiences onshore a real-time view of these important, but largely unknown parts of the ocean along the U.S. Northeast Coast.