NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer in port on Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, O‘ahu. Photo courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2015 Hohonu Moana.
The ship Okeanos Explorer, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, left the port on O‘ahu last week to begin two months of dives using unmanned remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs, to explore marine protected areas in the central Pacific Ocean.
Since Aug. 1, anyone with an Internet connection can virtually explore deep sea habitats and marine life with scientists and researchers from their computer or mobile device, according to NOAA. The expedition will last until Sept. 30.
The ship and its crew will investigate deeper waters in and around Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
“These areas represent some of the last relatively pristine marine ecosystems on the planet,” said Holly Bamford, assistant NOAA administrator for the National Ocean Service performing the duties of the assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management.