From the UNH 2018-2019 CCOM/JHC Seminar Series, NOAA Physical Scientists Derek Sowers and Michael White present, "NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer: Ten Years of Ocean Exploration Accomplishments and Highlights from the 2018 Field Season." This talk was recorded on February 15, 2019 at UNH's Jere A. Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory.
Over the past ten years, NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER)—utilizing “America’s Ship for Ocean Exploration” the Okeanos Explorer—has led 99 exploratory ocean mapping surveys covering a cumulative area of 1.79 million sq. km of seafloor. During the 2018 field season, the ship mapped almost 300,000 sq. km of seafloor (an area larger than the state of Arizona) while revealing stunning new insights on deep sea biology, geology, and archaeology in the Gulf of Mexico, North Atlantic, and the Caribbean. With OER’s Mapping Team based at the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping / Joint Hydrographic Center, collaborative projects with the Center included testing new broadband EK80 sonars, utilizing HydrOffice software tools, and collecting field measurements to characterize the sound patterns of the EM302 multibeam echosounder. The Okeanos Explorer is currently serving as a key asset in numerous national and international marine research campaigns, including the Southeast Deep Coral Initiative, the DEEP Sea Exploration to Advance Research on Coral/Canyon/Cold seep Habitats (DEEP SEARCH) program, the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation, the Seabed 2030 Project, and the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Program.
Derek Sowers works as a Physical Scientist with the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) supporting ocean mapping efforts of the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer. This work involves overseeing sonar data collection at sea during ocean exploration expeditions, and managing data and collaborating with other scientists shore-side at UNH’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping Joint Hydrographic Center. Derek is also a part-time Oceanography Ph.D. student at CCOM/JHC with interests in seafloor characterization, ocean habitat mapping, and marine conservation. He has a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of New Hampshire (1995), and holds an M.S. in Marine Resource Management from Oregon State University (2000) where he completed a NOAA-funded assessment of the “Benefits of Geographic Information Systems for State and Regional Ocean Management.” Derek has thirteen years of previous coastal research and management experience working for NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve network and EPA’s National Estuary Program in both Oregon and New Hampshire. Derek has participated in ocean research expeditions in the Arctic Ocean, Gulf of Maine, Gulf of Mexico, North Atlantic, Caribbean and Central, West, and North Pacific.
Michael White joined the Sandy IOCM team in December 2015. Prior to coming to the NOAA JHC/CCOM, Mike worked as a lab technician and project aide supporting a variety of research efforts at Stony Brook University, including volumetric monitoring of coastal beaches, remote sea level observations, management of offshore sediment resources and GIS proficiencies. Mike received a B.A. in Geological Sciences from SUNY Geneseo and an M.S. from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. His graduate work focused on the processing of multibeam sonar and the relationship between backscatter and the physical characteristics of the seafloor for the purposes of habitat mapping. Mike also has an Advanced Graduate Certification in Geospatial Science from the Department of Sustainability at Stony Brook University.