Blue water diving using weighted lines. These lines are for safety and prevent the divers from drifting away.
© Michael Aw
Imagine a world where no one had ever seen a penguin because it lived too far away; where bacteria were unknown because it was too small to see and eagles were unimagined because they flew too high above the clouds.
That's the world we live in today when it comes to the deep seas. The ocean is by far the planet's largest habitat, covering more than three-quarters of its surface and averaging two miles deep with the deepest point over six miles down, yet most of this environment is unexplored.
We know more about the surface of Mars than we do about the seafloor of our own ocean, even though it provides 98 percent of the biological zones where organisms can live, produces most of the atmospheric oxygen we breathe from photosynthesis in microscopic oceanic plants, supplies food to one in four people every day and shapes powerful forces in our climate. We urgently need to know more about the ocean and this is one of the driving reasons for our expeditions.
Learn more about a few of the places we've studied below.
During the month of September 2009 a team of 16 people set sail to study of the ocean habitat of the Phoenix Islands and document the underwater life. Follow along on their adventure and discover this unique, pristine wilderness.
Sterling Zumbrunn explored the Halmahera Sea and its surrounding islands. And he and his team shared their experiences and photographs with us every chance they got.