Our diving season is in full swing, in partnership with NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, and the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.
August 14 – September 1
The GFOE team will be diving in the deep waters of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, 100 nautical miles offshore of Galveston, Texas. The team will use ROV Yogi to observe coral reef biodiversity, mesophotic coral spawning for the first time in the Sanctuary, and analyze the genetics of black coral. The expedition will be live-streamed through the use of telepresence for education and outreach.
Watch the dives live on our home page!
Leg 1: August 14 – 18
Leg 1 of the cruise will focus on coral connectivity, biodiversity and connectivity processes that drive coral reef community structure, function, and persistence in the northwest Gulf of Mexico. For this leg, dives are generally scheduled from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Central Time each day, except for August 18, when the dive will end at noon.
Leg 2: August 21-25
Leg 2 will see the first time mesophotic coral spawning will be observed from start to end in the FGBNMS. Gamete exchange across depths will also be studied. Researchers estimate that most corals will spawn the night of August 22. We will do several other night dives during this cruise leg to watch for early and late spawning activity. The schedule, which is subject to change depending on what we are seeing, is:
All times in Central Time (CT)
Aug 21 – Dive 1: 8:00 am to 1:00 pm; Dive 2: 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Aug 22 – 4:00 pm to 1:00 am
Aug 23 – 4:00 pm to 1:00 am
Aug 24 – 4:00 pm to 1:00 am
Aug 25 – 9:00 am to noon
Leg 3: August 28 – September 1
Leg 3 focuses on black corals. We will be exploring banks outside of the sanctuary but within the proposed sanctuary expansion site. In addition to searching for new species of black coral, we will be characterizing the microbiome (the bacterial community that lives on them) of known species. For this leg, dives are scheduled from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Central Time each day, except for September 1 when the dive will end at noon.
August 23 – September 15
We’ll be exploring Atlantic continental margin, and area known to have many submarine canyons and seamount. These landscapes provide habitats for numerous species of ecological and commercial interest and are prone to landslides that can reveal geological structures of interest. The operations will begin in Halifax, Nova Scotia and end in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Watch the live video feeds from this expedition on the Okeanos Explorer homepage!