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Exploring our Seaward Backyard

Leslie Sautter, College of Charleston, Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences

24 August 2018

In June 2018 the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Deep Discoverer dove on 17 different seabed locations of the Southeast U.S. Continental Margin from Florida to North Carolina, with a primary mission to identify deep sea coral and sponge habitat while documenting the seabed substrate. Dive sites were located from 30 miles to nearly 200 miles off the coast in water depths ranging from 350 to 3300 m. This region is largely unexplored and has enormous areas not yet mapped in high resolution. ROV dive sites included mud-bottom canyon ridges, methane gas seeps, vertical rock cliffs within terraced slopes, and several deep coral mounds that lie in the path of the Gulf Stream at depths greater than 700 m. A 19th century shipwreck was also mapped for 3D imaging. In this talk, Dr. Sautter will cover the range of seabed environments encountered during the NOAA Ocean Exploration and Research's Window to the Deep 2018 expedition aboard the NOOA Ship Okeanos Explorer, and the wealth of information gained related to our seaward backyard's deep sea habitats.