During the California Borderlands expedition, we surveyed regions around Santa Barbara and San Nicolas islands. We dove to relatively shallow depths of 70-100 meters as we explored ancient shorelines. We used an autonomous surface vehicle (ASV) to create high resolution maps during the day and conducted ROV dives at night as we searched for sea caves. The Channel Islands are a host to biodiverse marine organisms and our ROV dives did not disappoint! Our geological exploration showed us a suite of sea creatures living in the mesophotic zone of the ocean, ranging from bright corals to marine invertebrates to looming sharks.
The primary focus of this expedition is the identification and characterization of submerged shorelines associated with offshore banks in the southern California Borderland region. This is a continuation of the effort by Nautilus over the last four years to acquire high-resolution mapping data of submerged shorelines and characterize primarily with remotely operated vehicles. This year’s expedition will focus on offshore banks, as those do not receive sediment from land which obscures shoreline features like caves from view.