In its second season of Pacific exploration, the E/V Nautilus has been busy mapping and exploring along the western coasts of Canada and the U.S., from Vancouver Island to southern California. The third leg of the 2016 season is currently underway, and will continue from June 27 to July 2, 2016.
The current (third) leg of the Nautilus’ expedition season is focused on the central California region, an area rich in both geological and biological components. Exploration goals include remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives to investigate deep sea canyons, seamounts, and rocky banks. Some highlights of this expedition will include looking at the deep sea communities from Bodega Canyon to Point Dume as well as exploring the oxygen minimum zones around the Santa Barbara Basin and Channel Islands. Oxygen minimum zones are regions of the ocean in which dissolved oxygen in seawater is at its lowest, usually occurring from 200-1,000m. Organisms found in these regions will be of high interest to researchers due to their ability to adapt to low oxygen conditions in addition to a lack of sunlight and other extreme factors associated with the deep sea environment. The E/V Nautilus will also revisit a site with a large methane seep that was first discovered during the vessel’s 2015 expedition. This site is home to several different bacterial mats and clam beds and is being revisited to complete a geochemical map of the seep.
Later this season, the E/V Nautilus will be travelling to several other locations along the U.S. Pacific coast, including the Southern California Margin as well as the Channel Islands and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries. Watch the ROV camera feeds and hear scentist dialogues in real time at http://innerspacecenter.org/live-video/nautilus-live/.