Monitor National Marine Sanctuary Private Research Expeditions 2010

The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary has issued three permits for private research expeditions in the Sanctuary for 2010. These research expeditions will be looking at the wreck from two different aspects and will help provide the MNMS with an up-to-date assessment of the current condition and the inhabitants on and around the wreck of the USS Monitor.

A cobalt bottle discovered in the wrecksite of the USS Monitor.
Courtesy of The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA

The first expedition scheduled for June 13- 27 was organized by Dan Crowell and Rick Marshall of Deep Explorers TV and Seeker Productions. Their team plans to conduct an overall survey of the wreck site that will help the MNMS update site maps, to document the locations of any exposed artifacts within the wreck and to survey the mechanical shoring that was installed by NOAA and the USN in 2000. Their dive team will collect data that will be beneficial to the MNMS and will be used to document the current condition of the wreck site, map the locations of any exposed artifacts, and to help determine if currents on the bottom have been impacting the stability of the wreck. Learn More


Divers over the wreck of the SS Malchace encounter an invasive Lion Fish.
Courtesy of Bradley Sheard

The second expedition organized by Captain James Barker of the R/V Under Pressure and Dr. Thomas Sawicki of Macon State College, will be carried out in two phases over the course of the summer. Phase I will run June 21 - 23, 2010 and Phase II is scheduled for August 02 - 06, 2010. Their team will be investigating the wreck site for the presence of the invasive Red Lionfish (Pterois volitans). Lionfish started showing up on shipwrecks off of the Cape Hatteras coast a few years back including reports of sightings on the Monitor in 2008. Lionfish are voracious predators armed with venomous spines that can deliver a painful message to an unwary diver. This well camouflaged, nocturnal species is associated with natural and artificial reefs where they primarily feed on small fishes and crustaceans. They are a non-native species from the Indo-Pacific and their numbers have rapidly increased in recent years along Florida's Atlantic and Caribbean coasts and have established a presence on wrecks off of the coast of North Carolina. This rapid expansion has raised concerns over the impacts this invasive species has on native reef fish populations. The data collected during this expedition will be analyzed Dr. Sawicki and help the MNMS to determine what steps (if any) should be taken?


Expedition Supported By:


We're in a race to conserve history! Follow along as artifacts are uncovered and more facts are learned about the Monitor and the men who served aboard!

From the heart breaking accounts of life aboard the ironclads to thrilling descriptions of the battles recounted by those who witnessed them you're sure to learn something new!