Expedition Overview: Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
From October 21-31, 2018, E/V Nautilus is partnering with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to characterize habitat, species, and communities of an unexplored, deep-water region of basaltic rocky reef southeast of Davidson Seamount. An inactive volcanic undersea mountain habitat off the coast of central California, Davidson Seamount is one of the largest known seamounts in U.S. waters at 2,280 meters tall--almost as tall as the Sierra Mountains. 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. Learn more about the expedition.
The main objective of this expedition is to characterize 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) to characterize habitat, species, and communities. 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.