Explore Spectacular:

Interesting Discoveries From 50 Years of
National Marine Sanctuaries

By Rachel Plunkett


May 2022

The spirit of exploration is what draws us to visit places off the beaten path—it’s what keeps us asking and seeking answers to new questions—further invigorating our curiosity. While the spirit of exploration existed in the waters of national marine sanctuaries long before many of them were designated, it continues to be one of the driving forces at the heart of protecting these special underwater places. Through partnerships and the aid of new technology, we’re able to go farther and learn more than those who came before. As we celebrate the upcoming 50th Anniversary of your National Marine Sanctuary System, join us on an exciting journey looking back at some of the discoveries made through five decades of exploration.

several colorful deep-sea corals in a dark ocean

Biodiversity at Davidson Seamount

Since the first biological expedition to Davidson Seamount, it has been globally recognized as one of the best studied and most protected seamounts.

a coral releasing tiny white balls into the water column

Mass Coral Spawning

Every August, the reef-building corals of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary put on a fantastic spawning display.

a night sky with stars and a meteor shower

The Power of Wow

Even before the passage of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972, it was clear that science was intended to be central to the creation and management of national marine sanctuaries.

More Discoveries

Check back soon for more stories featuring fascinating discoveries throughout your national marine sanctuaries!