2019 Expedition

National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa

Jul 22, 2019 to Aug 5, 2019 — NA112

The main objective of this expedition is to acquire baseline information on deep-sea and mesophotic habitat in American Samoa, with a special focus on the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS). Within deep-sea habitats, seafloor geology and biological communities will be documented and potentially new species of deep-sea coral and subsamples of rocks will be collected. In addition to seafloor mapping with multibeam sonar, a Lagrangian float will be utilized to capture high resolution photographic images of the mesophotic zone and associated biota.

American Samoa is the southernmost U.S Territory in the South Pacific, with the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa composed of six protected areas covering 13,581 square miles of nearshore coral reef and offshore ocean waters across the Samoan Archipelago. American Samoa is an oceanic archipelago with a small insular shelf, with the steep slope of the seafloor quickly dropping into mesophotic and deep sea depths.

Previous expeditions within this region provided a glimpse into the deep-sea habitat and mesophotic ecosystems of American Samoa. Mesophotic coral ecosystems occur in low light ocean zones from 30m to over 150m and are one of the most understudied components of the coral reef ecosystem. Expedition objectives include conducting a biological census of deep-sea and mesophotic communities, exploring a volcanically active seamount, seafloor mapping, and targeted sampling for potential new species and further environmental analysis. Data collection on the Nautilus expedition will help validate and further expand scientific knowledge of diversity and distribution of biological community assemblages within American Samoa and NMSAS.

Sponsored by: NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

Meet the Team

Photo of Sulaiman Al'Sibani
Navigator
Photo of Georgia  Coward
Science/Data Team
Photo of Allisa Dalpe
ROV Engineering Intern
Photo of Madison Dapcevich
Science Communication Fellow
Photo of Lynette Davis
ASV Scientist/Engineer
Photo of KG Fairbarn
ASV Scientist/Engineer
Photo of Summer Farrell
Argus Pilot
Photo of Michael Hannaford
Hercules Pilot
Photo of Scott  Hansen
ROV Pilot
Photo of Renato Kane
Navigator
Photo of Peyton Lee
Ocean Science Intern
Photo of Justin Lowe
Data Engineer
Photo of Andy McLeod
ASV Scientist/Engineer
Photo of Ed McNichol
Video Engineer
Photo of Ian Moffitt
Science/Data Team
Photo of Lillian Muir
Navigator
Photo of Mary Nichols
Video Engineer
Photo of Nerelle Que
Science/Data Team
Photo of Chris Roman
Science/Data Team
Photo of Miles Saunders
Navigator
Photo of Val Schmidt
ASV Scientist/Engineer
Photo of Anthony Scopazzi
Video Engineering Intern
Photo of Wendy Snyder
Argus Pilot
Photo of Brian Soash
Lead Science Communication Fellow
Photo of Hanae Spathias
Co-Lead Scientist
Photo of Mareike Sudek
Lead Scientist
Photo of Jessica Talbot
Science/Data Team
Photo of Valeria Tamayo Cañadas
Science Communication Fellow
Photo of Suna Tüzün
Science/Data Team
Photo of Robert Waters
Hercules Pilot
Photo of Rebecca Wipfler
Science/Data Team
Photo of Samantha  Wishnak
Communications

Highlights

Album: South Pacific Sightings: Surveying the Deep Sea in American Samoa
 
South Pacific Sightings: Surveying the Deep Sea in American Samoa
12 photos
August 2, 2019
Video: ROV Hercules Climbs Up the Wall of Tutuila Island
C
ROV Hercules Climbs Up the Wall of Tutuila Island
August 2, 2019
Video: Bubbling Vents and Colorful Chimneys of Volcanic Vailulu'u Seamount
C
Bubbling Vents and Colorful Chimneys of Volcanic Vailulu'u Seamount
August 3, 2019
Album: Mesophotic Marvels of American Samoa
 
Mesophotic Marvels of American Samoa
20 photos
August 4, 2019
Album: Vailulu’u Seamount: A Tumultuous and Ever-Changing Submarine Volcano
 
Vailulu’u Seamount: A Tumultuous and Ever-Changing Submarine Volcano
12 photos
1 day 21 hours ago.