2015 Expedition

Expedition Overview: California Borderlands in 60 Seconds

California Borderlands: Our Unknown Backyard

Jul 27, 2015 to Aug 18, 2015

This cruise will explore the ocean floor in previously unstudied portions of the California Borderlands, offshore from some of the most tectonically active (as well as densely populated) areas of California, using a combination of high resolution multibeam mapping, sonar surveys and targeted ROV dives. 

The California Borderlands area displays an unusually rugged topography linked to the complex tectonic history of the west coast of the United States including important faults that lie closer to important centers of urban population than the San Andreas Fault. As well as contributing to an improved understanding of the offshore extent of these local geohazards, there will also be an important biological component to our exploration. Wherever active fluid flow has been found along such fault systems in the past, cold seep ecosystems have also been found. 

Nautilus will visit known and several possible cold seeps off San Diego and Santa Monica, associated with gas hydrate dissociation and methane seepage. The team will examine a 3-year-old fin whale carcass to examine the changes that occur over one year to a “whale fall.” 

The final day of the expedition will conduct exploration and high resolution mapping operations at the wreck site of USS Macon within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Macon was a rigid airship, built in 1933 by the US Navy to function as a flying aircraft carrier. The dirigible had four F9C Sparrowhawk planes in internal hangers that it could launch while in flight and these biplanes are still present on the wreck. This expedition will spend a day at the Macon wreck site to document its condition, as it has not been visited since 2006, conduct high resolution mapping of the whole site for photomosaic and microbathymetry maps, and collect a piece of the aluminum frame for corrosion studies.

Meet the Team

Photo of Sean Bercaw
Navigator
Photo of Rachel Berger
Navigator Intern
Photo of Mike Brennan
Expedition Leader
Photo of Timothy Brogdon
Navigator
Photo of Katie Bryden
Video Intern
Photo of Sarah Burgess
Science Communication Fellow
Photo of Mark DeRoche
Deck Chief
Photo of Rachel Gaines
Hercules Pilot
Photo of Sam Garson
HRP Chaperone
Photo of Peter Girguis
Science/Data Team
Photo of Arturo Guzman
Honors Research Program
Photo of Benjamin Huang
Honors Research Program
Photo of Katie Inderbitzen
Science/Data
Photo of Matt Jewell
Hercules Pilot
Photo of Ellen Kappel
Science/Data
Photo of Clay Kilby
Communications
Photo of Alexander Konick
Honors Research Program
Photo of Avery Kruger
Science/Data Team
Photo of Tyler Kumes
Honors Research Program
Photo of Jennifer Le
Science/Data
Photo of Dave LePage
Video Engineer
Photo of Lisa Levin
Science/Data
Photo of Justin Lowe
Data Engineer
Photo of Michael Marin
Hercules Pilot
Photo of Catalina Martinez
Science/Data
Photo of Julye Newlin
Documentarian
Photo of Mary Nichols
Video Engineer
Photo of Cory Padilla
Science/Data
Photo of Tom Pierce
Video Engineer
Photo of Ian Rock
Video Intern
Photo of Karen Romano Young
Science Communication Fellow
Photo of Will Sellers
Hercules Pilot
Photo of Wendy Snyder
Argus Pilot
Photo of Jeremiah Sullivan
ROV Engineering Intern
Photo of Stephanie Toro
Science Communication Fellow
Photo of Suna Tüzün
Science/Data Team
Photo of Jamie Wagner
Science/Data Team
Photo of Tara Willis
ROV Pilot

Highlights

Video: Expedition Overview: California Borderlands in 60 Seconds
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Expedition Overview: California Borderlands in 60 Seconds
July 22, 2015
Album: Colorful Microbial Mats in the California Borderland
 
Colorful Microbial Mats in the California Borderland
17 photos
July 29, 2015
Video: Sampling Multicolored Microbes off of the California Coast
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Sampling Multicolored Microbes off of the California Coast
July 31, 2015
Album: Diving on the Rosebud Whale Fall
 
Diving on the Rosebud Whale Fall
14 photos
August 1, 2015
Video: Searching for Life at the Rosebud Whale Fall
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Searching for Life at the Rosebud Whale Fall
August 4, 2015
Video: Squat Lobster Feeding Frenzy
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Squat Lobster Feeding Frenzy
August 10, 2015
Video: Strange Behavior: Crabs Fend Off Cat Shark
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Strange Behavior: Crabs Fend Off Cat Shark
August 11, 2015
Video: Best of the E/V Nautilus 2015 Exploration Season
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Best of the E/V Nautilus 2015 Exploration Season
September 17, 2015