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.
For more coverage of this story, click here and here.
To view underwater footage of the exploration, click here.
Two major advances in global ocean governance are developing and offering hope humanity can begin to repair global seas. The first encouraging policy development is set up of massive marine protected areas of unprecedented size. The biggest of these newly proposed mega-marine protected areas, the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve, is three-and-a-half times larger than the United Kingdom, and more than 100,000 times larger than the historical median size for an ocean protected area. The second key development is that the United Nations is now drawing up a treaty to manage biodiversity across the high seas. These new regulations are focused on preserving marine biodiversity, establishing international ocean reserves, evaluating processes for sharing marine genetic resources, and effectively carrying out environmental impact assessments. Both of these advancements rely on new satellite-based technologies and newly available online data. Ocean-observation data is essential to effectively monitoring and controlling the industrialization of the oceans.
For more insights, click here.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) on behalf of the Navy and replaced the recently retired R/V Knorr vessel for the U.S Navy’s new oceanographic research vessel, R/V Neil Armstrong. The deep water acoustic positioning system, Ranger 2 USBL (Ultra-Short BaseLine), produced by Sondardyne, Inc., a Houston-based subsea technology company, has been selected for Neil Armstrong. Neil Armstrong is the first of two new Ocean-Class vessels ordered by the United States to fulfil national requirements for a high specification research ship based on the East Coast of the country. Sonardyne’s Ranger 2 USBL acoustic positioning technology will support the vessel’s work by enabling science teams to precisely monitor the position of underwater targets deployed from the Neil Armstrong.
For more coverage of this story, click here.
In August 2015, the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Observing Network (AMBON) team of researchers from the University of Alaska’s School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, the University of Maryland, University of Washington, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) initated their first field effort to sample marine biodiversity on the Chukchi Sea shelf. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is supporting this study to improve environmental impact assessments and a broader perspective of the ecosystem. The AMBON field efforts have been successful in sampling important ecosystem components across species and regions and in detecting important patterns of ecosystem function. The AMBON is one of three U.S. projects working to develop a Marine Biodiversity Observing Network (MBON) for the nation.
For more coverage of this story, click here.
Oregon State University’s marine scientists hold an annual public event to display their efforts and methods to explore the deep sea. Saturday April 9th at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, the public is encouraged to come and learn about the recent advancements in deep sea ocean observations. The all-day event usually draws 2,000 people annually.
For more information on this event, click here.