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Alvin Dives to Deep-Water Coral Habitats off New England

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Swimmers assist the recovery of Alvin.
Above: Swimmers assist the recovery of Alvin after the second dive of the cruise, to the floor of Oceanographer Canyon at 2,200-m water depth. Les Watling and Kathy Scanlon had the science seats; Gavin Eppard was the pilot. The submersible had been called back to the surface early because of deteriorating weather conditions. In spite of the sloppy seas, the recovery was mercifully quick and uneventful. Photograph by Mark Hatay (San Diego State University). [larger version]

In October 2005, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist Kathy Scanlon participated in an expedition to collect data from deep-water coral habitats in submarine canyons off Georges Bank and on the New England Seamounts. The expedition was conducted by using the U.S. Navy's manned submersible Alvin from the research vessel Atlantis, both operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Scanlon provided geologic expertise to biologist Les Watling (University of Maine), who is constructing a predictive model of deep-sea coral occurrences in the submarine canyons off New England. Watling's project is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Undersea Research Program (NURP; see URL http://www.nurp.noaa.gov/).

Hurricane Wilma, Hurricane Alpha, and an unnamed nor'easter conspired to produce seas as high as 30 ft, causing the cancellation of 7 of the 10 scheduled Alvin dives. Two dives were carried out in the canyons, where habitat characteristics were observed and recorded. The third successful dive was on Pickett Seamount, where large amounts of fossil deep-sea coral (Desmophyllum dianthus) were collected for a paleoclimate study by Jess Adkins of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Related Sound Waves Stories
International Deep-Sea Corals Workshop
March 2003

Related Web Sites
NOAA's Undersea Research Program
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)

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in this issue: Fieldwork
cover story:
USGS Scientists Investigate New Orleans Levees

special feature:
Post-Katrina Cleanup—a Volunteer's Reflections

Offshore Impacts of Hurricane Katrina

Sediment-Toxicity Studies in Western Long Island Sound

Sea-Floor Geology Off Massachusetts Coast

Alvin Dives to Deep-Water Coral Habitats

Research Study Links Urbanization to Amphibian Decline

Outreach San Francisco Bay Floor Explored

Briefing on Coastal Research in Hawai'i

USGS Research on the Kona Coast, Hawai'i

Meetings Third International Symposium on Deep-Sea Corals

Awards Award for USGS Map Hawaii's Volcanoes Revealed

Staff USGS Citizen Soldier on the Move!

Native-Plant Landscaping in Florida

Publications New Book on Benthic Habitats and the Effects of Fishing

Dec. 2005 / Jan. 2006 Publications List

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