FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Stephanie Balian
AND SOUTH ATLANTIC
Submersibles to Be used off Florida and the Carolinas
Explorers from the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will voyage to the South Atlantic's deep sea canyons and important underwater habitats during a month-long mission to study unique coral banks and important fishing areas.
NOAA scientists are a part of an expedition that explores our country's national marine sanctuaries and other environmentally significant areas or islands in the Gulf Stream from Belize to North Carolina. The expedition is known as Islands in the Stream - South Atlantic Bight (IIS-SAB).
NOAA is collaborating with Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution and will use their submersibles, the Clelia and the Johnson Sea-Link, to explore areas from Florida to North Carolina. The mission starts in Ft. Pierce, Fla., on August 29 and culminates October 1 with Ocean Exploration Day in Charleston, S.C.
"NOAA is a leader in ocean exploration. It is our obligation to future generations and a nod to spirited adventurers who preceded us," said Scott Gudes, NOAA's acting administrator. "Untold discoveries may await us. Cures for life-threatening diseases may await us. And keys to a better understanding of the marine and ocean environment await us."
According to Gudes, five specific areas along the Gulf Stream will be explored:
"Our goal is to better understand the ecological and oceanographic connection between the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean off the southeastern states," said George Sedberry, mission coordinator for the Savannah Scarp leg.
The IIS-SAB mission participants include NOAA's National Ocean Service, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, the Southeast Fisheries Science Center of NOAA Fisheries, NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration, NOAA's National Undersea Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, NASA, U.S. Geological Survey and Florida State University.
For more information and to follow this history-making expedition, log on at http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov.