Conch Reef Expedition 2009 Blog

Join us for a 5-day expedition at Conch Reef, Florida as Dr. Mark Patterson, VIMS scientist and developer of the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Fetch, leads an expedition to survey the coral reefs around the Aquarius underwater habitat, August 18-22, 2009. Located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the Aquarius habitat is a one-of-a-kind laboratory found 60 feet below the ocean's surface. The habitat serves as not only a base of operations for scientists who conduct research on coral reefs, but also as a training facility for NASA astronauts and U.S. Navy divers.


Using two Fetch-class AUVs (right) equipped with side-scan sonar, video imaging, and a suite of water-quality sensors, Patterson and his team will be mapping the fragile coral reefs in the area and identifying the reef species.

The expedition features daily blog entries, archived video and photography, as well as two real-time online interview with Dr. Patterson, VIMS graduate student Noelle Relles, and Virginia Sea Grant Marine Education Specialist Chris Petrone. These took place on Thursday, August 20th at 2:00pm EDT and 7:00pm EDT.

Archived webinars

Post-webinar survey

If you have questions during the expedition, you can submit them here.

Come aboard for an exciting week of discovery and technology!

A magical day

I'll remember this day on the water for a long time


"Live from Key Largo, it's Thursday evening!"

Dockside antics

Oh what field work can do to folks...

AUV Systems Check

Two hours on the water, but a full two hours.


Welcome to the expedition blog!