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2020 Nautilus Expedition in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Overview | MBNMS Specific | For Teachers


the Exploration Vessel Nautilus ROV Hercules launches off of the E/V Nautilus. Credit: Claire Fackler/NOAA
Vessel: Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus
(where is the Nautilus now – live map)
Project: Oceanographic and Biological Monitoring of Pioneer Canyon and Davidson Seamount in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Expedition Dates: OCTOBER 3rd to OCTOBER 15th





This fall, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is teaming up with Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) to explore the marine ecosystems of the West Coast Region. Working aboard the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus, scientists will map and explore anctuary sites along the Washington and California coasts.

Researchers will conduct mapping operations and use remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to investigate Olympic Coast, Cordell Bank, Greater Farallones, Monterey Bay, and Channel Islands national marine sanctuaries. You can watch the livestream here.

MBNMS Specific:


small image of map of target areas at Davidson Sea mount on OET Nautilus 2019

This expedition will visit three distinct areas of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, one of the world’s most productive and biologically rich ocean areas, protecting more than 700 species of fish, marine mammals, seabirds, and invertebrates. Scientists will map, conduct ROV video dives, and collect specimens to aid in characterization of benthic environments. They will revisit the “octopus garden” discovered on E/V Nautilus expeditions in 2018 and 2019 on the southeastern flanks of Davidson Seamount, a nearby whale fall, previously unexplored linear ridges south of Davidson Seamount, and Pioneer Canyon located in the northern portion of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.



For Teachers:


Are you a classroom teacher and want to connect your students to live-streaming, virtual underwater exploration? Follow the adventure online from October 3rd – 15th at!

deep coral communities poster rietta hohman

Deep-sea coral communities, like the ones found in the national marine sanctuaries of the West Coast, are home to many diverse species. This curriculum takes students into the deep sea to identify the soft corals, hard corals, invertebrates, and fish found in these communities and to investigate the unique biology of deep-sea corals. Students also learn the threats these animals face and what we can do help protect them.

This webinar archive provides an introduction to the Deep-Sea Coral Communities educational materials and hands-on activities.