Recent Voyages

Mountains of the Sea

    In the summer of 2003, with the help of the Alvin submersible, a multidisciplinary team of scientists and educators visited several little known seamounts in the North Atlantic, along with at least one previously unexplored seamount, to study various aspects of deep-sea octocorals and other organisms living on and around the seamounts.

    The primary objective was to map, collect, and identify deepwater corals, fishes, and miscellaneous invertebrates from the seamounts, with special attention to whether corals are most abundant at the crest of the seamount and whether they form important habitat for other species, such as benthic fishes, when the corals are particularly abundant.

    Click here to review logs:


    As part of the Ocean Technology Foundation’s (OTF) Science, Education and Marine Archeology Program in Portugal (SEMAPP), ocean explorers used the manned submersible Delta [INSERT PIC 2] to get close-up views of Portimão canyon off the coast of Portugal during April of 2004. The goals of SEMAPP are:

      • Exploration, mapping, study and conservation of Portugal’s underwater patrimony
      • Marine technology transfer and training
      • International collaborations between Portuguese and U.S. scientists, students, educators and institutions
      • Exploration and research on fisheries ecology, biodiversity and geology of submarine canyons and surrounding areas

    This was the first time in Portugal’s history that an occupied civilian research submersible has explored the continental shelf and coastal waters. It was a combined effort of many different Portuguese and U.S. organizations and institutions -- a somewhat unusual organizational structure for an oceanographic research program. SEMAPP Explorers were investigating potential shipwreck sites, some of which may be from the 14th-18th centuries. They were studying and filming the creatures that live in the canyons up to 300 meters deep. But most of all, they were exploring, which means they went where few, if any, humans have gone before! Six Portuguese students and their teachers also participated in the expedition. A Portuguese nonprofit organization, Ciência Viva, coordinated an essay contest for students who wanted to take part in the SEMAPP expedition. They were asked to research the feasibility of locating an undersea facility for human habitation called Ocean Base One, in the waters off the Portuguese coast. They had to figure out where it could be located, based on undersea geology, ocean currents, and geography, and what kinds of challenges would be faced. The students that won the essay contest [INSERT PIC 3] spent a day on board the ship with their teachers during the exploration of Portimão canyon. Activities included meeting the scientists, ship crew and submersible pilots, touring the ship, viewing the video footage of the dives, and exploring the submersible. Students discovered a fun way to learn about the effects of pressure by decorating styrofoam cups and other figures that shrunk when sent down to several hundred meters with the Delta submersible. The logs from this expedition are posted here, as well as on the OTF website.

    For more details about the expedition, please visit the Ocean Technology Foundation’s website at


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