Deep-Sea California Biotic Survey - Gulf of the Farallones NMS

The Team, Exploration, Discovery, Education, Marine Sanctuary Management

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the managing agency for the Cordell Banks (CBNMS) and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries (GFNMS) off the coast of the S.F. Bay Area, including the Farallon Islands. In 2012 a NOAA cruise making use of a Remote Operational Vehicle (ROV) conducted a biotic survey of GFNMS to collect biodiversity data to be used for a possible extension of the Sanctuary boundary to the north off Sonoma and Mendocino Counties.
In 2014 a second such cruise was conducted to explore the proposed boundary region off of Sonoma County. For both cruises, NOAA marine ecologist Peter Etnoyer and Academy curator Gary Williams were the biologists on board to produce images of the benthic fauna and to collect specimens by use of a special collecting arm on the ROVs. The depths explored ranged from 80-285 meters. New taxa of gorgonian corals were discovered and collected during the cruise, and are housed in the Academy’s IZG collections.