The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), NOAA, the USGS and scientists and communicators from 14 other organizations received the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) 2015 Excellence in Partnering Award during a ceremony held at Ocean Sciences 2016 meeting in New Orleans. The partnership between these organizations was recognized for their work in conceiving, managing and conducting the “Atlantic Canyons: Pathways to the Abyss” project over a four year period. The team coordinated the exploration and documentation of the deep-water and benthic marine habitats of two mid-Atlantic Canyons located offshore of Virginia and Maryland. This effort involved research cruises to the Norfolk and Baltimore Canyons from 2011 to 2013 that found unexpected extensive deep-water coral ecosystems, identified over 125 species of fish, discovered large swaths of chemosynthetic mussel communities, documented historically important shipwrecks off the coast of Virginia, and deployed innovative sensing technologies on the canyon floors to monitor their oceanographic characteristics.
To view underwater footage of the exploration, click here.