ECOGIG cruise on the E/V Nautilus

June 21 to July 5, 2013

ROVs: Hercules and Argus  


The ECOGIG cruise on the E/V Nautilus was a fantastic success. Between leaving Gulfport, MS on June 21st and arriving again on July 5th, we were able to make 14 dives with the ROVs Hercules and Argus. The dives ranged from 4 to 20 hours each, and went to depths between 400 and 2600 meters. On the cruise, we surveyed deep-sea coral sites that were impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, re-imaging corals that we have been monitoring since the spill. We collected live coral from the seafloor, keeping them alive on board and completing a series of oil- and dispersant-exposure experiments during the cruise. We also collected a series of samples of the water just above corals and natural gas seeps, and a series of sediment samples from the same environments. We conducted most of the water and sediment sampling in close coordination with the R/V Endeavor, guiding their sampling to target the same locations that we discovered with the ROVs.

In addition to these successes, perhaps the greatest impact of the cruise was in the Education and Outreach achieved through the telepresence capability of the ship. All of the dives were broadcast live over the Nautilus Live and Exploration Now web sites. We reached over 8,000 people and had over 22,000 web site hits during our cruise. In addition, the three educators on board reached thousands of other people through live interactive shows with various museums and aquaria including the Mystic Aquarium, Long Beach Aquarium, the Exploratorium in San Francisco, and the Titanic Museum in Belfast, Ireland.