Do some of the coral sites Nautilus has visited in the past few days look familiar? It might be because we stopped at many of the same locations during last year's cruise with the ECOGIG project (learn more about them here). ECOGIG is now in its fourth year studying the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on coral in the Gulf of Mexico, and in their second year with E/V Nautilus. By visiting the same sites each year they can track the recovery (or lack thereof) of coral at various sites over a period of time to judge the potential longterm effects of the spill on the region's biology.
Here are some photo and video highlights from last year's dives - check them out and get a taste for the mindblowingly awesome biology video we might have coming up for the rest of the cruise.
Before the 2013 cruise even began lead scientist Dr. Erik Cordes spoke to us about goals and expectations for the leg.
June 24th, 2013 was a particularly exciting day for our biologists - check out these photos of tubeworms, crabs, fish, and more.
Throughout the cruise our team was amazed at the diversity of life in between the branches of coral, but this dive really hammered home the importance of the associated biology at coral sites.