Mystic, Conn. (August 22, 2019): On Saturday, September 7, Mystic Aquarium will host a live feed from aboard the Okeanos Explorer during its expedition of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts. The presentation by Mystic Aquarium and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Deep Connections 2019: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts is set for 11:00am– 11:30am in the Aquarium’s on-site Foxwoods Marine Theater.
This is the first time that NOAA has explored the region since its designation as a marine national monument by the Obama Administration in September 2016.
The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts off the coast of New England was designated as the first marine national monument in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean. Mystic Aquarium’s senior research scientist Dr. Peter Auster was instrumental in providing the scientific rationale for conservation of the area. The region represents a biodiversity hot-spot and the best remaining undisturbed ecosystems in the north Atlantic, making them vital to scientific research, especially in the face of climate change.
From August 6 to September 15, 2019, NOAA will conduct the telepresence-enabled ocean exploration expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information about unknown and poorly understood deep-water areas of the Atlantic margin off the U.S. and Canadian east coast.
NOAA’s ship Okeanos Explorer is the only federal vessel dedicated to exploring our largely unknown ocean for the purpose of discovery and the advancement of knowledge about the deep ocean.
The presentation at Mystic Aquarium will take place during the expedition’s second leg that will run August 26–September 15.
At approximately 11:10am, using the ship’s high-bandwidth satellite connection, live video and data from a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) will be transmitted from the dive location in the Bear Seamount (at depths of approx. 1,500 meters) with a presentation of the live dive and expedition by Expedition Coordinator Dr. Daniel Wagner and Science co-lead Meagan Putts.
Dr. Wagner works as an expedition coordinator for the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research; having conducted fieldwork on deep-sea ecosystems since 2006. He has spent over 500 days at sea during 25 multidisciplinary research expeditions that explored deep-sea habitats throughout the Indo-Pacific, Atlantic and Southern Oceans. Meagan Putts is a deep-sea researcher at the University of Hawaii focusing on deep-sea coral and sponge communities. Meagan is part of an experienced team of scientists specializing in imagery analysis. She also designed and maintains the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory archive and is part of the team that operates remotely operated vehicle Lu‘ukai.
The presentation of Deep Connections 2019: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts is free with admission. For more information visit MysticAquarium.org.
Guests to Mystic Aquarium have the opportunity to learn about the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts by visiting our Blue Parks gallery exhibit featuring a photographic journey of the monument. Dr. Auster appreciatively calls the exhibit a “visitor’s center for this ocean wilderness.”
Earlier this year, Mystic Aquarium expanded its nod to “protecting special places in the ocean” with a gallery dedicated to all Marine National Monuments including the Marianas Trench, Rose Atoll, Pacific Remote Islands and Papahánaumokuákea.
“Because of where these monuments are located, it would be a challenge for most people to visit,” said Katie Cubina, Senior Vice President, Mission Programs, “through these exhibits and events like the live dive, we give people the opportunity to experience the beauty and wonder of the magnificent places.”
Mystic Aquarium seeks to connect with adults and children alike to raise awareness about conservation -locally and globally – through meaningful engagements to ultimately spark action.