While exploring in Quinault canyon, the Corps of Exploration came across some amazing deep sea corals. Deep sea corals do not have photosynthetic algae like their shallow water counterparts, they get their energy from feeding on zooplankton. The ability of the E/V Nautilus to visually survey and collect specimens will add important information about the largely unexplored deep sea coral communities.
Returning to the Pacific Northwest, Nautilus will launch an expedition with dual objectives in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, covering 3,189 mi2 of coastal and offshore waters along one of the least developed coastlines of the continental US. Though mapping efforts have helped to characterize seafloor substrates in some portions of the sanctuary, only very small portions of the sanctuary have been visited or photographed.