Surveying deep-water habitats off US West Coast

Release Date:

Researchers from the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC) participated in a research cruise to survey deep-water coral, sponge, and fish habitats off U.S. West Coast.

Scientists used underwater vehicles to survey deep-water coral and sponge habitats and collect baseline data on essential fish habitat during a month-long cruise along Oregon and California. The expedition was part of a new federal/non-federal partnership, Expanding Pacific Research and Exploration of Submerged Systems (EXPRESS). It was jointly planned by NOAA, BOEM, and USGS. The NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada left Newport, Oregon, on October 11, 2018, and docked in San Diego, California, on November 8. Participants surveyed 15 sites. Results will guide decisions about managing fisheries and offshore energy and mineral resources. Highlights included discovery of potential new species, visits to areas surveyed in 2005 to monitor changes caused by Essential Fish Habitat closures, and water sampling to measure nutrient availability and other properties that affect corals and sponges.

Underwater photo of a rocky outcrop with many multicolored corals growing on it.

Corals and sponges near La Cruz Canyon, offshore of south-central California.

A woman standing at a table in a laboratory places small clear plastic vials into a plastic baggie.

 Nancy Prouty from USGS PCMSC prepares water samples.

 

Related Content

Filter Total Items: 4
Date published: October 17, 2019
Status: Active

Ecosystems: EXPRESS

The continental shelf and slope offshore California, Oregon, and Washington are home to deep-sea corals, chemosynthetic communities, and other sensitive habitats that could be impacted by the development of energy and mineral resources. The EXPRESS campaign will map and...

Date published: October 17, 2019
Status: Active

Resources: EXPRESS

Along the U.S. west coast, the Pacific Ocean, ocean floor, and winds above contain potentially vast energy and mineral resources. Developing these resources safely and wisely requires detailed information for each area of interest. One goal of EXPRESS is to inform ocean...

Date published: October 17, 2019
Status: Active

Hazards: EXPRESS

Marine geohazards including earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis lie offshore of densely populated areas of California, Oregon, and Washington. One goal of EXPRESS is to improve assessments of these hazards.

Date published: July 15, 2019
Status: Active

EXPRESS: Expanding Pacific Research and Exploration of Submerged Systems

EXPRESS is a multi-year, multi-institution cooperative research campaign in deep sea areas of California, Oregon, and Washington, including the continental shelf and slope. EXPRESS data and information are intended to guide wise use of living marine resources and habitats, inform ocean energy and mineral resource decisions, and improve offshore hazard assessments.

Filter Total Items: 2
Date published: August 7, 2019

Federal scientists from three agencies meet to discuss critical marine minerals

On July 30 and 31, the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center hosted an “Exploratory Interagency Critical Marine Minerals Discussion” in Santa Cruz, California.