Posted: April 11, 2022

Watch undersea exploration live in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
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Pink corals and huge white sponges of Tamana Seamount.
Pink Hemicorallium corals and huge white Poliopogon sponges of Tamana Seamount. Image: OET/NautilusLive

Now through May 1, researchers aboard the E/V Nautilus will explore Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to investigate seamounts on expedition Luʻuaeaahikiikekumu (Luʻu-a-ea-a-hiki-i-ke-kumu). Anyone can follow along, interact with scientists, and watch live streamed undersea footage from the expedition on

Ocean Exploration Trust’s E/V Nautilus returns to Papahānaumokuākea to build on the accomplishments of the 2021 Luʻuaeaahikiikalipolipo expedition, which mapped the Liliʻuokalani Ridge Seamounts. The team will be conducting the first visual exploratory surveys of the seamount chain and gathering samples to determine the geologic origin and age of the seamounts.

Scientists expect to find rich coral and sponge communities, which can be found thousands of feet deep on seamounts throughout PMNM.

E/V Nautilus at sea.
Image: OET/NautilusLive

As we visit Papahānaumokuākea, the ancestral homeland of the Native Hawaiian people and the largest marine conservation area in the U.S., we gratefully acknowledge generations of Indigenous Hawaiians and today’s stewards of these waters.

Ocean Exploration Trust is working closely with Monument collaborators to inform research priorities at sea and from shore, ensure culturally-grounded collection protocols, and connect with local communities through ship-to-shore connections and development of education resources in ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language).

Members of the Papahānaumokuākea Native Hawaiian Cultural Working Group developed the expedition name, Luʻuaeaahikiikekumu. Since this expedition is returning to Liliʻuokalani Seamount, this name is a reflection of the journey to where the work began, as well as figuratively returning to the source and foundation of our ocean and islands. This includes surveying and mapping seamounts, as well as investigating macro-biology and deep-sea rocks.

Equitable partnerships that are inclusive of Kānaka (Native Hawaiian) worldview strengthen relationships and understanding of Papahānaumokuākea. This mission supports opportunities to work with Native Hawaiians and help perpetuate the cultural values, knowledge, and practices of cultural heritage while advancing modern science and exploration together.

For more information, visit Expeditions page or NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Ocean Exploration Trust 2022 Expedition page.