2019 Expedition

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Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Oct 13, 2019 to Oct 18, 2019 — NA117

The main objectives of this expedition are to revisit and further characterize the “octopus garden,”  an unexplored, deep-water region of basaltic rocky reef that resides southeast of Davidson Seamount, within the borders of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). In October 2018, Nautilus and MBNMS discovered extensive aggregations of over 1,000 brooding female octopuses (Muusoctopus robustus). This genus has an unusual ‘upside-down’ brooding posture, with the underside of the arms exposed and the mantle toward the eggs, which are cemented to bare rock. This area was not fully explored and will be the first objective of this cruise.

Davidson Seamount is an inactive volcanic undersea mountain habitat off the coast of central California, and is considered to be an area of special national significance. One of the largest known seamounts in U.S. waters, the seamount has been called "an oasis in the deep" in an otherwise flat seafloor, hosting large coral forests, vast sponge fields, crabs, deep-sea fishes, shrimp, basket stars, and high numbers of rare and unidentified benthic species. Recent research suggests that this pristine area may be necessary for maintaining healthy coastal populations in the MBNMS, and it is important to characterize the range of these populations on adjacent hard substrate habitat.

Although extensive previous ROV dives have occured on the seamount proper, there is deep rocky habitat southeast of the seamount that could harbor additional communities of corals and sponges. This area was previously mapped in better detail by E/V Nautilus, revealing ridge-like features and several domes comprised of volcanic rock. If time permits, the ROVs will be used to characterize an unexplored flank of Davidson Seamount from base to summit.

Sponsored by: NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

Meet the Team

Photo of Danielle Bailey
Science Communication Fellow
Photo of Wayne Bornio
Video Engineer
Photo of Jennifer Brown
Science/Data Team
Photo of Erica Burton
Science/Data Team
Photo of Megan Cook
Communications
Photo of Dan Cormany
ROV Pilot
Photo of Mark DeRoche
Deck Chief
Photo of Gregg Diffendale
Hercules Pilot
Photo of Mugdha Flores
Science/Data Team
Photo of Lindsay Gee
Science/Data Team, Mapping
Photo of Paul Glick
ROV Engineering Intern
Photo of Michael Hannaford
Hercules Pilot
Photo of Dane Hardin
Science/Data Team
Photo of Anne Hartwell
Science/Data Team
Photo of Erin Heffron
Science/Data Team, Mapping
Photo of Amanda Kahn
Science/Data Team
Photo of Renato Kane
Navigator
Photo of Chad King
Science/Data Team
Photo of Justin Lowe
Data Engineer
Photo of Nicole Raineault
Expedition Leader
Photo of Erin Ranney
Video Engineer
Photo of Jessica Sandoval
Argus Pilot
Photo of Miles Saunders
Navigator
Photo of Ashley Siana
Video Engineering Internship
Photo of Scott Simon
Science Communication Fellow
Photo of Taylorann Smith
Ocean Science Intern
Photo of Jamie Wagner
Science/Data Team
Photo of Antonella Wilby
ROV Engineering
Photo of Samantha  Wishnak
Communications
Photo of Amity Wood
Science/Data Team

Highlights

Video: Newborn Octopus and Stealthy Shrimp Battle in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
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Newborn Octopus and Stealthy Shrimp Battle in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
October 16, 2019
Video: Whale Fall Actively Devoured by Scavengers at Davidson Seamount
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Whale Fall Actively Devoured by Scavengers at Davidson Seamount
October 16, 2019
Video: Baleen Whale Fall Becomes a Deep Sea Banquet at Davidson Seamount
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Baleen Whale Fall Becomes a Deep Sea Banquet at Davidson Seamount
October 17, 2019