Exploring Davidson Seamount aboard the E/V Nautilus

This coral (Paragorgia sp.) is one of the many beautiful species seen at Davidson Seamount.

Expedition goal: The overarching goal is to survey previously unexplored regions of Davidson Seamount, a region of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. This inactive underwater volcano is home to deep-sea corals and sponges, which create habitat for many other animals. Less than one percent of the seamount has been explored.

Expedition technology: We will use a two-ROV system, ROV Argus and ROV Hercules, to act as our eyes and hands underwater. We will use the ROVs to conduct visual surveys, transects, and to collect water, sediment, rock, and biological samples. We will also deploy National Geographic’s “Deep Ocean Dropcam”, a baited camera system that will take photos of animals near the seafloor.

Expedition dates: October 21- 31, 2018

Ship: E/V Nautilus

MBARI Personnel: Amanda Kahn

Davidson Seamount is an inactive underwater volcano that last erupted over 9,000 years ago. Its peak lies 1,700 meters below the surface; its base 3,400 meters. Initial surveys of the seamount revealed dense communities of deep-sea corals, sponges, and other fauna. The seamount was so diverse that it was added to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in 2008. However, less than one percent of the seamount has been surveyed. From the areas that have been surveyed (which scientists from MBARI played a big role), several new species were found.

This cruise is a collaboration among Nautilus, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and Applied Marine Sciences. MBARI Postdoctoral Fellow Amanda Kahn is blogging for MBARI.  Learn more about the expedition and follow the cruise updates!

MBARI Cruise Participants