In August 2014, E/V Nautilus and the Corps of Exploration explored the world's second largest barrier reef system: the Mesoamerican Reef. This region, stretching over 600 miles along the coast of central America, is home to an astonishing diversity of marine life and potentially a number of shipwrecks from several different historical eras. While its shallow waters are familiar to SCUBA divers, most of the deep areas of the system are completely unexplored.
The deep waters around and off the coasts of the Belizean cayes and atolls are among the least studied areas of the Caribbean Sea. The 2014 Nautilus cruise to the western Caribbean will conduct seafloor mapping and ROV exploration of the areas around and offshore the cayes and atolls of the Belize Barrier Reef, including potential mud volcanoes off Turneffe and Lighthouse atolls. Additionally, archaeological survey will be conducted with side-scan sonar and ROVs in areas of historical importance around the Belizean cayes.