Written By Susan Kahoud - When several kinds of whales and dolphins began beaching themselves after the U.S. Navy held practice submarine warfare exercises using very loud sonar and occasional live bombs, scientists and conservationists realized that those two things are connected.
This past July, a group of scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and many other organizations boarded the ship Okeanos and set out on an exciting 36 day research cruise to explore the deep ocean floors off the U.S. northeast coast. Specifically, they wanted to explore the numerous deep submarine canyons in this area and the Mytilus seamount, which is part of the New England seamount chain. A submarine canyon is basically a steep valley cut into the ocean floor. A seamount, as the name suggests, is an underwater mountain. These habitats can contain vast amounts of sea life, especially compared to other areas of the deep sea.