Updated: September 27, 2022
Researchers aboard the E/V Nautilus are exploring Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to investigate underwater mountains formed by volcanic activity, known as seamounts.
The public can interact with the scientists and watch live streamed undersea footage from the Luʻuaeaahikiikekumu expedition on NautilusLive.org.
Ocean Exploration Trust’s E/V Nautilus has returned to Papahānaumokuākea to build on the accomplishments of the 2021 Luʻuaeaahikiikalipolipo expedition, which mapped the Liliʻuokalani Ridge Seamounts. The team will be conducting the first visual exploratory surveys of the seamount chain and gathering samples to determine the geologic origin and age of the underwater mountains.
Scientists expect to find rich coral and sponge communities, which can be found thousands of feet deep on seamounts throughout the national monument.
Papahānaumokuākea encompassing 583,000 square miles of ocean waters, including 10 islands and atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
During the researchers visit to Papahānaumokuākea, the ancestral homeland of the Native Hawaiian people and the largest marine conservation area in the United States, the researchers also will gratefully acknowledge generations of Indigenous Hawaiians and today’s stewards of these waters.
Ocean Exploration Trust is working closely with the National Monument collaborators to inform research priorities at sea and from shore; ensure culturally-grounded collection protocols; and connect with local communities through ship-to-shore connections and development of education resources in the Hawaiian language ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi.
Members of the Papahānaumokuākea Native Hawaiian Cultural Working Group developed the expedition name, Luʻuaeaahikiikekumu. Since this expedition is returning to Liliʻuokalani Seamount, this name is a reflection of the journey to where the work began. It also is figuratively returning to the source and foundation of the ocean and islands. This includes surveying and mapping seamounts, and investigating macro-biology and deep-sea rocks.
Equitable partnerships are inclusive of Kānaka (Native Hawaiian) worldview strengthen relationships and understanding of Papahānaumokuākea. This mission supports opportunities to work with Native Hawaiians and help perpetuate the cultural values, knowledge and practices of cultural heritage while advancing modern science and exploration together.
For more information, visit NautilusLive.org Expeditions page or NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Ocean Exploration Trust 2022 Expedition page.