Every year, our research vessel, the Oceana Ranger, explores new areas of the ocean and collects scientific data â€“ and incredible photos! -- to help protect vulnerable marine habitats.
This week, our colleagues in Europe presented their findings to an environmental rule-making body in the Northeast Atlantic, and weâ€™re hopeful that it will lead to exciting new ocean protection measures.
Europeâ€™s Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) offers guidelines about threatened species and habitat types that should be protected. However, these principles rely on old and incomplete data, so countries have had trouble using them effectively.
Although Norway, the UK, and Germany have already taken steps to explore and protect their seafloor communities, Spain and Portugal have had much less information about their oceans and so have been less active in preserving it.
But thanks to our expedition findings, that might change. Oceana presented OSPAR with findings about coral gardens, deep sea sponges and seapen communities from our expeditions in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean. In total, our scientists presented 28 previously unknown areas that have these types of habitats.
These habitats are home to some of the most diverse and unique communities in the oceans. Creating marine protected areas to preserve them can go a long way in keeping the oceans and everything that lives in them healthy.
Hereâ€™s hoping that todayâ€™s presentation will pave the way for both continued scientific study and additional protections.
This is part of a series of posts about our Pacific Hotspots expedition. Today's highlights: albatross and coral gardens.
Oregon Leg, Day 3
Last night we anchored the R/V Miss Linda just north of Bandon, Oregon and two miles offshore. We woke to calm seas and high anticipation for another day of work with the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), surveying seafloor habitats.
Steaming west about six miles offshore we crossed paths with a rapidly moving pod of dolphins and we were graced with the company of black-footed albatross and sooty shearwaters.
As the ROV descended on the first dive, we passed through a swarm of krill just before reaching the seafloor 300 feet down. At the bottom we saw a garden of colorful corals, sponges and crinoids that looked like sword ferns in an old growth forest.