Deep Sea

The edge of a submersible robot can be seen near the ocean floor, lighting up feathery seastars, small corals, and other deep-sea organisms
Photo: Ocean Exploration Trust

Deep seafloor habitats are usually cold, dark, and subject to intense pressure, making it a challenging habitat for humans to access and study. Organisms living here are specially adapted to their environments; many grow slowly and are vulnerable to physical disturbance and changing ocean conditions. Shrimp, rockfish, halibut, and whiting are often found living in, on, or just above the seafloor, attracting commercial, recreational, and subsistence harvesters.

Click on the illustration below to access user-friendly, online tools that allow resource managers, scientists, educators, students, and the public to explore, discover, and summarize ecosystem trends at the sanctuary.

Illustration of a deep seafloor habitat, with ten icons representing a variety of ecosystem components including crabs and shrimp, deep sea corals and sponges, rockfish, roundfish, groundfish, sharks, and rays.
Illustration of ecosystem components for deep sea habitats. Image: NOAA

Explore recent deep-sea expeditions in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary through the links below:

For more information on specific research project or to request a copy of a report, email us at