Valor in the Atlantic Expedition

The Valor in the Atlantic project will use our Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Yogi, and our satellite capability to explore historic shipwrecks within and surrounding the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary (MNMS). This project is brought to you through a partnership between GFOE, MNMS, NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), and the state of North Carolina’s Office of State Archaeology (OSA).  The NOAA ship Nancy Foster will act as the project’s research platform and will be equipped with the capability for “telepresence,” which streams ROV video live through the internet, showcasing these nationally significant sites and their biological communities, to the public and other scientists as the dives are taking place. Our education collaborators will broadcast these live events in their venues, literally bringing the wonders of these historic wrecks to life to large and diverse audiences.

The bow of the Monitor. Courtesy of Tane Casserley, NOAA.

Valor in the Atlantic will investigate historic shipwrecks from the U.S. Civil War, World War I, and most predominantly from World War II’s Battle of the Atlantic. Attacks from German U-boats against Allied merchant vessels resulted in the highest concentration of World War II shipwrecks anywhere in the United States, along North Carolina’s Outer Banks. NOAA is proposing to expand MNMS to protect and honor these nationally significant shipwrecks and the World War II battlefield that surrounds them. As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, this project represents an ideal opportunity to honor the history and sacrifice of the Allied servicemen and the members of the U.S. Merchant Marine who fought and died during the war. While Valor in the Atlantic focuses primarily on World War II shipwrecks, it honors all those that display valor on the high seas.

The ROV dives on shipwrecks also provide direct observations of the types and abundances of fishes occupying the shipwrecks. These ROV data will be complemented by fishery echosounder surveys that use sound to “remotely sense” the locations and relative size of fish surrounding the shipwrecks. These data will be beneficial in determining the importance of shipwrecks as habitat for marine life. Both the ROV and echosounder data will help answer questions about the ecological function of shipwrecks to guide ecosystem-based management and spatial-planning decisions to ensure that the reefs and their inhabitants are sustainably used by fishers, divers, and other interests.

Echosounder data of various fish species on a shipwreck. Courtesy of NOAA NCCOS.