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Science Home    Research    Monitoring    Habitat Characterization
Research Projects    Expeditions    Tools & Technology
Research Publications/Chronology

EXPEDITIONS
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The sanctuary sponsors, coordinates and participates in a variety of expeditions each year. In addition to research conducted within sanctuary boundaries, the team also explores and investigates outside the sanctuary.

When communications allow, research updates are posted to our Facebook page during expeditions. Summary reports are usually written following each expedition, and may be added to the web site as links from the expedition descriptions below.

Any future expedition dates listed below are subject to change due to weather, equipment, and scheduling issues.

2014 EXPEDITION SCHEDULE
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Bathymetric map of McGrail BankJanuary 17-21, 2014
Multibeam, R/V MANTA
- Testing of TAMU's new multibeam system from R/V MANTA

Piece of equipment attached to a computer to download data.February 23-25, 2014
Water Quality, R/V MANTA
- Maintenance of water quality instruments, collection of water samples.

R/V MANTA jet propApril 15-May 5, 2014
Yard Maintenance, R/V MANTA
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Piece of equipment attached to a computer to download data.May 15-17, 2014
Water Quality, R/V MANTA
- Maintenance of water quality instruments, collection of water samples.

Bright yellow towfish on deck of boatMay 18-23, 2014
UT Geology Class, R/V MANTA
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Bathymetric map of McGrail BankMay 26-June 1, 2014
Dellapenna, R/V MANTA
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Bathymetric map of Sidner and Rezak banksJune 3-7, 2014
Dellapenna2, R/V MANTA
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Person lowering CTD into the water from a boatJune 16-23, 2014
TAMUG (DiMarco), R/V MANTA
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Peopl in water positioning glider for deployment.June 28, 2013
TAMU, R/V MANTA
- Geochemical and Environmental Research Group (GERG), Department of Oceanography, and Texas A&M Galveston testing of new Slocum gliders.

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Man releasing a sea turtle from the back of a boatJuly 2-5, 2014
SB LTM, R/V MANTA
- Collection of long-term monitoring data at Stetson Bank.

MOCNESS being assembled on workshop floorJuly 8-11, 2014
LTM Refurbishment, R/V MANTA
- Refurbishing lateral growth coral monitoring stations.

Diver photographing the reefJuly 22-25, 2014
FGB LTM, R/V MANTA
- Collection of long-term monitoring data at East and West Flower Garden Banks.

MOCNESS being assembled on workshop floorAugust 11-13, 2014
MOCNESS Training (TAMUG), R/V MANTA
- Training with new MOCNESS (Multiple Opening and Closing Net with an Environmental Sensing System).

Close up of coral spawningAugust15-17, 2014
Coral Spawning, R/V MANTA
- Observation and data collection during annual mass spawning of corals.

Diver holding t-frame camera setup on reefAugust 29-30, 2014
DiMarco Glider Deployment (TAMU), R/V MANTA
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Diver holding t-frame camera setup on reefSeptember 6-9, 2014
FGBNMS LTM and Catlin Seaview, R/V MANTA
- Collection of long-term monitoring images at East Flower Garden Bank and testing of Catlin Seaview camera system.

ROV underwater with umbilical line trailingOctober 20-24, 2014
ROV I, R/V MANTA
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ROV underwater with umbilical line trailingOctober 27-31, 2014
ROV II, R/V MANTA
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Piece of equipment attached to a computer to download data.November 12-14, 2014
Water Quality, R/V MANTA
- Maintenance of water quality instruments, collection of water samples.

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PRIOR EXPEDITIONS
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2013 Expeditions

2012 Expeditions

2011 Expeditions

2010 Expeditions

2009 Expeditions

2008 Expeditions

2007 Expeditions

2006 Expeditions

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CONDUCTING RESEARCH
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If you are interested in conducting research on one of our expeditions, please contact Emma.Hickerson@noaa.gov for more information.

EXPEDITIONS OUTSIDE THE SANCTUARY
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A question frequently asked by sanctuary constituents is "Why do sanctuary staff conduct research outside the sanctuary?" There are a couple of reasons:

  1. The Flower Garden and Stetson Banks do not exist in a vacuum. They are part of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. Sanctuary resources cannot be protected if we do not know what is happening outside the boundaries that may affect the resources within the boundaries.

Bathymetric map showing seafloor relief across the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.
Click on the map to get a larger view

An excellent example of this is the recent realization that the sea floor between the many banks scattered across the continental shelf is far from the flat, featureless expansion it was once thought to be. Rather, the banks are connected by low-relief outcroppings, potentially providing a kind of "fish highway" where animals can move between banks and still have a little protection and food source for the journey.

If the sanctuary team had restricted its explorations, this discovery would have taken longer.

  1. The world of knowledge and research techniques is constantly expanding. Like any other professionals, researchers must remain sharp and current on their knowledge and skills so that the sanctuary can benefit from the latest innovations.

Participating in non-sanctuary research projects is a kind of continuing education for sanctuary staff, allowing exchanges with researchers from different regions and disciplines.

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weather report observations cool stuff get wet


Orange, branching gorgonian (soft coral) anchored in a bed of sponges and other sea life.
   
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