NOAA 2020 Expedition to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (EX2004, EX2005, EX2006)

From May 31 through August 20, NOAA and partners will conduct a three-part, telepresence-enabled ocean exploration expedition – Voyage to the Ridge 2020- on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information about unknown and poorly understood deepwater areas of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Azores Plateau, and the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone.

Voyage to the Ridge 2020 (EX2004, EX2005, EX2006) will conduct telepresence-enabled ROV and mapping operations with full shore-based science participation. Mapping data collected will help improve fundamental understanding of this region and facilitate ROV dive planning. ROV dives ranging from 250 to 6,000 meters deep are anticipated from June 4 to 24 (EX2004) and July 26 to August 17 (EX2006), with transit days planned to optimize operations in priority areas. ROV dives will explore deep-sea coral and sponge habitats, potential hydrothermal vent and extinct polymetallic sulfide systems, fracture and rift zones, and the water column. Conductivity, temperature, and depth (CTD) rosette operations are also expected. Cruise numbers, dates, ports of call, and operational modes are as follows:

• EX2004: May 31-June 25, Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands, to Faial, Azores, Portugal — ROV and mapping cruise to explore the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (south of the Azores) and the Azores Plateau.

• EX2005: July 2-21, Faial, Azores, to Faial, Azores — Mapping cruise to collect acoustic data of seafloor and sub-seafloor geomorphology and water column habitats of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (north of the Azores) and the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone.

• EX2006: July 27-August 20, Faial, Azores, to St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada — ROV and mapping cruise to explore the Azores Plateau, Mi- Atlantic Ridge (north of the Azores), and Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone.

NOAA would like to invite you to participate in cruise planning and to engage in this mission as members of our shore-based science team. Our telepresence-enabled operations will use our high-bandwidth satellite connection and a suite of Internet-based collaboration tools to allow the majority of the science party to actively engage from shore to help guide the expedition in real-time.

You are receiving this email because you: 1) attended or contributed to a workshop focused on identifying science, management, and exploration priorities or submitted input to identify ROV and mapping targets for this region; 2) have expressed interest in participating in the expedition; 3) have participated in a previous Okeanos mission; or 4) were recommended for your expertise in our proposed operating area. We would like to invite you to participate in our upcoming expedition as part of our shore-based science team. We welcome broad science community participation, so please feel free to extend the invitation to other scientists, students, or managers who may also be interested.

If you would like to participate or continue to receive updates about the expedition, please request a collaboration tools account and join the Voyage to the Ridge 2020 listserv here:
When you complete the form, select the “Voyage to the Ridge” cruises (EX2004, EX2005. Ex2006) under the expeditions in which you plan to participate. If you do not complete the form, this is the last email you will receive about the expedition. Once you have completed the form, we will add you to our email list and activate a collaboration tools account for you to use during the expedition. Please note it is important to fill out this from every year to remain on the expedition listserv. If you have already signed up since the beginning of 2020, you do not need to do so again, as long as you selected the Voyage to the Ridge cruises as part of your initial request.

On Friday March 16 at 09:00 -10:00 EDT / 13:00 – 14:00 UTC we will host a webinar that will provide an introduction to how we conduct operations onboard Okeanos Explorer (register here). This webinar will be geared towards those who have never participated in an Okeanos Explorer expedition in the past, or have not participated in since before 2017, and will provide an overview of how a collaborative telepresence expedition works. This will be recorded for those who will not be able to attend the webinar – reach out to me after the webinar to receive a link.

After the introduction call, we will have a series of science planning calls. We will kick off science planning for the expedition on Monday March 16 at 11:00 -12:30 EDT / 08:00 - 09:30 PDT / 15:00 – 16:30 UTC (register here). During this webinar we will discuss expedition themes and objectives, as well as general cruise plans. This will be recorded for those who will not be able to attend the webinar – reach out to me after the webinar to receive a link.

We will circulate additional information about cruise specific dive and mapping planning soon. Again, you must have signed up at the link above to insure you receive additional communications about this expedition.

Lastly, I would like to introduce you to our expedition points of contacts:

EX2004- ROV and Mapping

Deb Glickson - EX2004 geology lead;

Joana Xavier- EX2004 biology lead;

Derek Sowers - EX2004 mapping team lead;

EX2005 - Mapping

Shannon Hoy - EX2005 Expedition Coordinator;

EX2006- ROV and Mapping

Mike White - EX2006 Expedition Coordinator;

Scott France - EX2006 biology lead;

Thomas Marrow- EX2006 geology lead;

Sam Candido - EX2006 mapping team lead;

We look forward to your participation in this expedition! Please feel free to reach out by email ( or phone (301-734-1050) if you have any questions.