Spotlight: A Golden Age of Ocean Exploration

You’re living in a golden age in deep sea exploration. There have been myriad deep-sea explorations underway this year, from NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer’s  expeditions in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans to EV/Nautilus‘ seafloor mapping and exploration in the Pacific Ocean.

And thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you can tune in and watch much of this exploration on your computer. And even stream them onto your smart TV.

NOAA’s Okeanos is doing daily live-dives in the Musicians’ Seamount through September 30. Tune in!

And also through September 30, the E/V Nautilus, a project of the Ocean Exploration Trust, is conducting a seafloor mapping expedition in the Pacific Ocean, between the Pacific Northwest and San Pedro, California, focusing on areas within the US Exclusive Economic zone. Tune in here! Click that link to also see the calendar of future EV/Nautilus explorations.

Just one thing the E/V Nautilus crew saw in an expedition earlier this years – a mysterious purple orb:

Using modern tech including microCT scanning and RNA sequencing, the E/V Nautilus team identified this as “very likely” a new species of velutinid.

Every one of these ocean exploration forays is likely to see mysterious creatures, and indeed, new species. NOAA Okeanos’ recently saw this seastar, which starfish expert

seastar-@echinoblog-Okeanos musicians 2017-09-22

Christopher Mah says is “likely a new species.”

And you can check out news and photos from their past expeditions – it’s a wealth of discovery:

10 greatest sightings, so far, from NOAA’s exploration of the deepwater Pacific

jellyfish-NOAA Okeanos-Musicians Seamount 2017

Spotlight: Okeanos Explores the Deep Pacific … & You Can Too

This is really cool stuff, folks!

The NOAA research vessel Okeanos is exploring the deep sea in the remote Pacific Ocean this month, and they’re livestreaming it nearly every day. You, too, can explore the deep sea; just click here to livestream at your desk any day through March 29!

AA-Okeanos-flower star_RBrittin
screengrab by R Brittin

In this expedition, NOAA researchers are collecting “critical baseline information about unknown and poorly known deepwater areas in the Howland and Baker Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument and the Phoenix Islands Protected Area.”

The ROV dives are planned, weather permitting, most days through March 27, typically from about 8 am to 5 pm WST (March 7 – March 26, from 2 pm to 11 pm EDT).

Here are some snaps from dives earlier this week. The first three are courtesy Rachel Brittin; the rest were screen-grabbed by us.

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Check out what they’ve found on past expeditions – but a warning – this can be addictive!

NOAA Okeanos past explorations photos, videos, information.

Spotlight: Ocean Gelata Meets Curious, Talented Minds

There are not enough adjectives in any language to adequately respond the the breathtaking photos of Alexander Semenov.

He is a living embodiment of talent + curiosity + intelligence + passion, all coming together for ocean exploration and inquiry. And he is passionate about sharing it with the world.

Let’s get this crowdfunding going! Support Alex & his ocean exploration dream! Check it out, and support it in any way you can today — these are the people the oceans need, to bring enthusiasm and smarts to help discover and decipher their secrets, and to bring their wonder to everyone around the globe.

Take a minute and check out Alexander’s Flickr photo gallery – prepare to get lost in the beauty of ocean gelata.

Support his AquatilisTV venture (check out the stunning website) by donating to his Indiegogo campaign here.

Help him give us all a window into an amazing underwater world of creatures that are too stunning, crazy and out-of-this-world to really believe.

Cyanea capillata feeding_ASemenov
Cyanea capillata feeding, copyright Alexander Semenov

Alex is one of the most generous underwater photographers we know. We support him ‘full on’, as Iz would say.

Media coverage of the Aquatilis TV campaign to make this ocean exploration dream come true:

Wired – The Daring Three-Year Expedition to Reveal the Creatures of the Deep

Russia Beyond the Headlines – Venturing Into the Ocean Depths (*lovely webpage)

The Independent – Expedition Aquatilis: An Undersea Odyssey to Get to the Bottom of the Ocean’s Food Chain

The Daily Mail – What lies beneath? Scientists to embark on a 35,000-mile journey to discover more about bizarre translucent Gelata organisms living at the bottom of the sea

Metro UK – Off to sea for a jelly long time: Custom-built yacht will track Gelata jellyfish on worldwide tour


… aaaaannnnddddd – who wouldn’t want one of these expedition T-shirts?!
























Spotlight: Exploring the oceans – “there’s still 97 percent”

“Only the ocean remains as the last great unexplored portion of our globe; so it is to the sea that man must turn to meet the last great challenge of exploration this side of outer space.”
–Deep Challenge (1966) by H. B. Stewart

Marine biologist David Gallo brings the mind-bending world of ocean exploration alive in his latest talk about the fascinating and largely unexplored undersea world. As he notes, “Today we’ve only explored about 3 percent of what’s out there in the ocean. Already we’ve found the world’s highest mountains, the world’s deepest valleys, underwater lakes, underwater waterfalls … . There’s still 97 percent, and either that 97 percent is empty or just full of surprises.”

Watch this – it’s entrancing:

Gallo and his team, NOAA’s Ocean Explorer teams, Dr. Edith Widder, and so many more, are among those who’ve been exploring the oceans’ depths for years. This year is a pivotal time in deep sea exploration – with James Cameron’s DeepSea Challenge, Richard Branson’s Virgin Oceanic and Dr. Sylvia Earle’s DOER marine all aiming to explore at the ocean’s deepest point – the fabled Mariana Trench. Before James Cameron reached the bottom of the Trench last month, there had been a 52 year drought — only Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh had done it before — in 1960.

With this ocean-oriented race to the bottom, we’re surely on the brink of  vast and astonishing discoveries of life in the least-hospitable, oxygen-starved depths of our planet.

Follow ocean explorers’ Twitter feeds on our ocean explorations list.

“a digital address book of what lives in the oceans”

Of the things we at Oceanwire are thankful for, one of the most critical for our future is the quest of some to explore, document and map the oceans’ creatures and its nooks and crannies, trenches and vents, reefs and shoals.

The Census of Marine Life, a 10-year global effort to inventory as much ocean life as possible — or as one researcher characterized it, create “a digital address book of what lives in the oceans” — revealed some 6,000 potentially new marine species and has given us all a chance to see some of what lives beneath the sea’s surface.

For this, we are thankful.