An important part of deep-sea research is fieldwork. I have already had amazing opportunities, with hopefully more to come! 

Gulf of Mexico - ECOGIG II - September 2016

D/V Ocean Inspector - ROV Global Explorer

During September 2016 ECOGIG scientists spent three weeks in the Gulf of Mexico aboard D/S Ocean Inspector with ROV Global Explorer monitoring, observing, and collecting deep-sea coral communities in a continued effort to track the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. High resolution images and videos were collected to assess the recovery of colonies that have been monitored by scientists at Penn State University since the oil spill in 2010. The primary goals for the Cordes Lab during this expedition were to collect samples of Callogorgia delta to study the effects of natural hydrocarbon seepage on nearby corals and to collect Lophelia pertusa with the intent of live experiments back at Temple University.


Gulf of Mexico - Jewels of the Gulf - June 2017

Ocean Intervention II - ROV Global Explorer

The final ECOGIG deep-sea coral cruise set sail for two weeks in June of 2017 aboard the Ocean Intervention II with ROV Global Explorer. The science team was lead by Iliana Baums from Penn State University and consisted of members from Temple University and USGS. This expedition provided further monitoring, observing, and collecting of deep-sea coral communities in a continued effort to track the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Another set of high resolution images and video were collected in addition to important biological samples. Our team also included members dedicated to public outreach that arranged ship-to-shore sessions with classrooms from around the world as well as an educational video series about the importance of studying deep-sea corals. 


Gulf of Mexico - restore - July 2017

ocean project - rov Comanche

The first Restore Deepwater Corals expedition took place aboard the Ocean Project for three weeks during July 2017. This cruise was lead by Dr. Santiago Herrera from Lehigh Univeristy with the objective of investigating population connectivity in deepwater corals in the Gulf of Mexico, including species impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and aid in their restoration. We also had the opportunity to collect live Lophelia pertusa colonies to aid in live experiments back in our lab at Temple University.

 Science team from the first Restore Deepwater Corals cruise including members from Lehigh University, Temple University, Pennsyvania State University, Harvey Mudd College, and NOAA.

Science team from the first Restore Deepwater Corals cruise including members from Lehigh University, Temple University, Pennsyvania State University, Harvey Mudd College, and NOAA.


Pacific Ocean - Deep Corals of PIPA - October 2017

R/v Falkor - ROV Subastian

The Deep Corals of PIPA expedition was a four week trip with Schmidt Ocean Institute aboard the R/V Falkor with ROV SuBastian. This mission provided a first glimpse of many of the habitats that will help determine what Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) is protecting at these depths, and inform the future management of this area. The Cordes Lab is interested in the diversity and distribution of deep-sea coral species on seamounts in the remote Central Pacific with a focus on the PIPA. We will be conducting a preliminary video assessment of large-scale patterns of coral abundance and diversity across seamounts in PIPA. Additionally, we are interested in cataloguing and preserving deep-sea coral specimens for DNA barcoding to better understand the phylogenetic diversity of corals on seamounts. As many of these seamount ecosystems in this area of the Pacific have never been explored before, we aim to provide an idea of how environmental conditions influence variability of coral community composition. In remote marine protected areas like PIPA, collections of voucher coral species and their symbiotic organisms will help better establish how seamounts in this area fit into a larger biogeography of the Pacific Ocean.

All photos and videos courtesy of Thom Hoffman