Image courtesy of Deepwater Canyons 2013 - Pathways to the Abyss, NOAA-OER/BOEM/USGS.

Deep Sea Exploration to Advance Research on Coral, Canyon and Cold seep Habitats


DEEP SEARCH was launched in September 2017 as a multi-agency 5-year study of deep-sea coral, canyon, and gas seep ecosystems in U.S. federal waters of the Atlantic Ocean, including offshore Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

The goal of the study is to augment the ability to predict the location of seafloor communities off the Atlantic coast of the Southeast US that are potentially sensitive to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. This area encompasses a variety of different habitat types, including submarine canyons, cold-water coral mounds and gardens, methane seeps, and soft sediments. Specifically, this project will explore and characterize the biological communities of the study area, examine the sensitivity of habitat-structuring fauna and associated communities to natural and anthropogenic disturbance, and describe the oceanographic, geological, geochemical, and acoustic conditions associated with each habitat type.

This study will improve our understanding of the habitats and communities in offshore areas of the Atlantic Large Marine Ecosystem and will contribute to the environmental information needed to address current and emerging science and management issues, in particular with respect to the potential development of energy and marine mineral resources in the area.

DEEP SEARCH is an initiative of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP). Three federal agencies (BOEM, USGS, and NOAA), along with TDI-Brooks international, Inc. as the prime contractor and seven academic institutions, serve as partners in the project. NOPP is a federally mandated initiative that coordinates and develops collaborative ocean research efforts among Federal, state and tribal governments, academia, private industry, and non-governmental organizations.


September 11 - 28, 2017 aboard the Pisces: 2-3 sentence summary of cruise accomplishments. Also indicate where user can go for more information about the expedition, including photos/video, background and cruise logs.

What's Next? In 2018 and 2019, the DEEP SEARCH team will complete two more expeditions to further investigate coral, canyon, and seep habitats. 

More Information

Learn more about the project and the research expeditions here: NOAA Ocean Explorer DEEP SEARCH


BOEM Environmental Studies Program website

USGS DISCOVRE (Diversity, Systematics and Connectivity of Vulnerable Reef Ecosystems) Project

Social Media


Institutions/Programs: NOPP (, USGS Aquatic Life (@USGSAquaticLife), USGS (, BOEM, NOAA Ocean Explorer (@oceanexplorer), NOAA (@noaa)

Individual Twitter accounts? Erik, Amanda, maybe: Andrea Quatrini, Marjorie Weisskohl?

What am I missing?

ECOGIG? Okeanos Explorer YouTube??

NOAA has a ton of channels and we need to find out from comm folks at NOAA which they intend to use

Press Releases & Announcements

Press Release (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management), September 12, 2017: "Federal Ocean Partnership Launches DEEP SEARCH Study Off the Mid- and South Atlantic Coast"

Press Release (U.S. Geological Survey), September 13, 2017: "Federal Ocean Partnership Launches DEEP SEARCH Study of Coral, Canyons and Seeps Off the Mid- and South Atlantic Coast

TDI-Brooks International DEEP SEARCH Announcement

Institutional Partners 

Federal Partners:

     Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
     National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration's Office of Ocean Exploration & Research (NOAA OER)
     United States Geological Survey

Academic Partners (coordinated by TDI-Brooks International, Inc.):

     Temple University (Lead principal investigator and project manager Dr. Erik Cordes)
     University of Georgia
     Nova Southeastern University
     Florida State University
     Harvey Mudd College
     University of New Hampshire
     Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research


Is there a page where all research personnel are listed? There is a list of explorers here, but it's only for first exp


ECOGIG is Supported by

Our Partner Institutions