Ocean Exploration Trust and partners will conduct a telepresence-enabled expedition to explore unseen deep-sea habitats aboard E/V Nautilus with ROV and seafloor mapping operations in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) focused on the largely unexplored northwestern section of the Monument.
PMNM is the largest marine protected area in the United States covering over 1.5 million square kilometers. While past expeditions have increased baseline knowledge of the deep-water resources here, large areas remain completely unexplored! This expedition will gather data urgently needed to address local management and science needs of PMNM, including a better understanding of the deep-sea natural and cultural resources, biogeographic patterns of species distributions, and seamount geologic history. While the expedition’s main focus will be to explore the geology and biology of unexplored seamounts, the operating area includes several historically-significant shipwrecks associated with the Battle of Midway. Should these historic wrecks be located, and weather conditions allow for ROV dives on these locations, the expedition will seek to conduct non-intrusive, ROV-based archaeological characterizations.
As E/V Nautilus voyages to the sacred islands of Kānaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiians), we gratefully acknowledge past generations of Kānaka ʻŌiwi and today’s stewards of these waters and honor ʻŌiwi knowledge systems. PMNM is a place of tremendous natural wonders and is also a place of deep cultural significance for Native Hawaiians. The expedition name, Ala ʻAumoana Kai Uli (path of the deep sea traveler), was composed in collaboration with OET, former Kānaka OET interns, NOAA, and members of the PMNM Native Hawaiian Cultural Working Group. Ala ʻAumoana Kai Uli speaks to the work that will be done on this expedition, but the name also speaks to the responsibility and accountability that we have to each other in protecting our shared ocean. The name is a reflection of our collective experiences as people who love and protect the ocean inciting images of physical and metaphoric paths, connecting ocean people to each other and various spaces within the ocean. These paths have been meticulously tended to over time, but the name also reminds us of our continued shared responsibility to care for these paths and our ever-developing relationships. Learn more.
This expedition is funded by NOAA Ocean Exploration via the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute.