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Supporting below-the-surface science

It’s hard to do marine science without going underwater at some point. Missions like the 2023 Rainier Integrates Charting, Hydrography, And Reef Demographics (RICHARD) mission aboard NOAA Ship Rainier are an example of how the NOAA Diving Program supports our shipboard science.

A diver under the water holding a notebook and ruler to measure coral

NOAA divers assess contamination in the Great Lakes

In 2022, NOAA divers with the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science's (NCCOS) Mussel Watch Program supported a seven-week sampling mission to determine the amount of contamination in the Great Lakes and its potential to damage ecosystem health. Learn more about the project in this NCCOS story.

A scuba diver taking a sample from the bottom of a lake

NOAA divers survey reefs and habitats in the Mariana Islands

NOAA divers conducted numerous coral and seafloor habitat studies in the Mariana Islands as part of the Rainier Integrates Charting, Hydrography, And Reef Demographics, or RICHARD, mission supported by NOAA Ship Rainier in 2022. Learn more about the mission in this story map.

Two divers working on the sea floor

NOAA divers help recovery of endangered abalone

On November 18, 2019, a team that included NOAA scientific divers released endangered white abalone into the wild off southern California, a key recovery strategy for the native species. The release was a major step towards bringing white abalone back from the brink of extinction. Learn more about the project in this NOAA Fisheries story.

A white abalone on the sea floor