Discovering Bodega Canyon Corals
Five miles off the coast of Point Reyes, near San Francisco, CA, the boundaries of Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary begin. In 2015, new regions were added to this sanctuary that had never been explored. One of the primary missions of this August 2017 expedition was to visually survey these deep water habitats--a critical first step in protecting and managing marine sanctuaries. Using recently created seafloor maps to identify hard substrate areas--ideal habitat for deep water corals and sponges--we sent ROVs Hercules and Argus to investigate.
Continuing north along the California coast to Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary (CBNMS), offshore the San Francisco Bay Area, Nautilus will visually survey deep-water habitat that has never been explored and characterize habitat, species, and communities. Recently expanded to protect 1,286 square miles of offshore habitat including continental shelf, Cordell Bank, and Bodega Canyon, as well as smaller canyons along the continental slope, most newly added areas of CBNMS have not been explored.