PISCES Deep-coral Cruise 2010 - Virtual Tours

Scientists from NOAA Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA Fisheries Service, NOAA Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research, NOAA Hollings Marine Laboratory, the University of Alabama’s Department of Geological Sciences;, and the College of Charleston’s Grice Marine Laboratory participated in a seven-day (April 8-14, 2010) research cruise aboard the NOAA Ship PISCES to investigate deep-water rocky reefs and associated sponges and corals off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina. These corals build up complex high-relief mounds in deep water (350-900 m) and consist of living, dead and fossil corals and coral rubble that provide important habitat and feeding grounds for a diversity of marine life including wreckfish, golden crab and royal red shrimp.

Underwater video and high-resolution still photographs were collected using the Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s remotely operated vehicle (or ROV). Several of these photos are being used to describe a new species of fishes, while others are being used to improve the description of species of fishes and invertebrates that are rarely observed in the wild. View some of these photos and ‘fly-along’ with the researchers in your browser by clicking on one of the five virtual tours below. Toggle the boxes above the map to turn various features on and off. Zoom in on the map and click on individual photos to see larger images and additional information. Or, download the data to view externally in Google Earth.

Additional details about the Cruise’s Mission and daily web logs (blogs) from the scientists can be viewed by visiting the Gray’s Reef Sanctuary Mission page.

Virtual Tours: Dive 1, Dive 2, Dive 3, Dive 4, Dive 5

Download: NOAA Deep Coral Tours (KMZ file)

For more information about the cruise, contact George Sedberry at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

Content last modified by Kevin Stierhoff on 7 June 2010.