Socorro Island Sponge and Coral Gardens
Dotting the seafloor near Socorro Island, a swath of glass sponges and deep sea corals blanketed rolling volcanic features. These visual surveys of Revillagigedo Archipelago will help researchers understand more about the deep sea communities within this new UNESCO World Heritage site and marine protected area.
Again moving offshore from the Baja California Peninsula, Nautilus will return for deeper exploration of the Revillagigedo Archipelago, consisting of the islands of Socorro, Clarion, San Benedicto, Roca Partida and numerous associated seamounts. Oceanic seamounts are critical features of the ocean basins that focus biological activity by providing hard substrates coupled with upwelling currents, are potential sites of seafloor mineralization, and pose hazards to benthic communities and human populations as a result of active volcanism.