Nautilus will return to the rugged Central California coastline for a short expedition to revisit sites which were unsurveyable during previous expeditions due to weather conditions. Beneath the waves, the California coastline shares the same rugged topography as its shoreside parallel. Many submarine canyons cut across the continental slope, carrying shallow water life and shore-based nutrients efficiently into the deep sea. This expedition includes dives at Partington Canyon. A stark contrast from the steady, sloping topography of the continental shelf, deep sea canyons provide steep gradients that provide a unique way to study biological communities and geochemical processes.
Many California seafloor canyons have been sampled and explored in depths shallower than 500m but little exploration has occurred deeper. Nautilus will explore these hardground communities to survey the unique corals, sponges and sea life that inhabit these zones.