Follow this expedition from the NOAA Explorations website.

 Davidson Seamount Cruise

DATES: May 17-24, 2002
  LOCATION: 120 km southwest of Monterey, California

Located 120 kilometers to the southwest of Monterey, Davidson Seamount is 42 kilometers long and rises 2,400 meters from the ocean floor, yet is still 1,256 meters below the sea surface. This large geographic feature, discovered in early seafloor mapping efforts, was the first to be characterized as a "seamount" and was named after scientist George Davidson of the Coast and Geodetic Survey (forerunner to National Ocean Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). MBARI created high-resolution maps of Davidson Seamount in 1998 during its mapping project.

Seamounts—remnants of former volcanoes—are interesting not only for their geology but also for their biology. The water above seamounts are productive feeding grounds for a wide variety of fishes, marine mammals, and seabirds. The rocky surfaces of seamounts serve as habitat islands for deep-sea animals.

MBARI scientists, together with collaborators from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, captured the first video images of Davidson Seamount during an expedition in May 2000 as part of an ongoing research project on seamounts. They were surprised to find large, dense patches of unusual sponges and extremely old coral forests with individuals commonly reaching more than three meters high (photos and video clips below).  

In May 2002, scientists from MBARI, the sanctuary, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium will return to Davidson Seamount in a partnership to further characterize this unique habitat. You can follow the expedition from the NOAA website.


More images of Davidson Seamount 
and video clips from the May 2000 Expedition

(Please honor the MBARI copyright, by not using these images anywhere else without prior approval).

Click on a still image below
 for a larger version.
Links to movie clips
 (in .mpg format) 

large_clam1_6x4.jpg (45457 bytes)

Here we are sampling a large clam with the manipulator arm of the ROV Tiburon. 

large_coral_6x4.jpg (32382 bytes)

On the northern slope of 1270 m cone, we found extremely old coral forests with individuals commonly reaching more than three meters high.

davidson_sponges_6x4.jpg (32615 bytes)

On the southern slope of the 1270 m,  cone we found numerous sponges

Nice clips of the biodiversity we saw and an 
interesting geological feature— bedding.

Clip of a large predatory tunicate.

davidson_color-on-blk_sm.jpg (31919 bytes)
Davidson Seamount perspective view from the southeast.

5-17 Briefing   
Observation/collection of an unusual fish