Waitt Institute for Discovery
The Waitt Institute for Discovery (WID) is a non-profit research organization that serves as an exploration catalyst, enabling scientific pioneers to transform the ways in which discoveries are made. WID implements innovative technologies in the field through collaborations with world-renowned scientific institutions, synthesizing global expertise and accelerating groundbreaking research. Founded in 2005 by Ted Waitt, The Waitt Institute for Discovery seeks to advance human understanding of the past and secure promise of a better future through exploration and discovery. For more information about The Waitt Institute for Discovery, please visit: http://waittinstitute.org/WID.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, independent organization in Falmouth, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the oceans' role in the changing global environment. For more information, please visit: http://www.whoi.edu.

Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University is a research institute dedicated to exploration, innovation, conservation and education related to the oceans. Harbor Branch was founded in 1971 as a private non-profit organization. In December 2007, Harbor Branch joined Florida Atlantic University. Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses strategically located along 150 miles of Florida's southeastern coastline. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, FAU maintains a world-class faculty and is comprised of ten specialized colleges. For more information, please visit: http://www.hboi.fau.edu.


Two Woods Hole-designed Remus 6000 Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) will be used to map deepwater coral reefs off the east coast of Florida. These robust systems have a rated working depth of more than 3.5 miles.

A more detailed look at the REMUS AUVs is provided here.


The R/V SEWARD JOHNSON is a 204-foot oceanographic and submersible-support research vessel owned and operated by Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) at Florida Atlantic University and is part of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) fleet. It was built in 1984 and commissioned in 1985 as the namesake of HBOI founder, J. Seward Johnson, Sr. With a 6000 nautical mile range and a cruising speed of 13 knots, the R/V SEWARD JOHNSON is capable of working in any of the world's oceans, while accommodating up to 40 research staff and crew.

The R/V SEWARD JOHNSON has 360-degree bow and stern thrusters, twin propellers and rudders, dynamic positioning and state-of-the-art precision navigation, giving it the capability to maneuver and position easily and efficiently and station-keep with the accuracy required by today's undersea and oceanographic research missions. The vessel also carries in-house ocean engineers who are experts in surface oceanographic procedures and submersible vehicle launch and recovery. The ship routinely operates in the waters from the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of Maine, but has also carried out missions to Cuba, the Galapagos Islands and the Cape of Good Hope. Following the Space Shuttle Challenger accident, the RV Seward Johnson was used to support the shuttle wreckage recovery mission.

General Specifications
  • Length Overall: 204 feet
  • Length between perpendiculars: 183 feet
  • Beam, Overall: 36 feet
  • Draft: 12 feet
  • Displacement (weight)
  • Nominal Full Load: 1,282 Tons
  • Gross Tonnage: 285 GRT
  • Fuel Capacity: 63,000 Gal.
  • Fuel Consumption: 70 gal./hour, normal cruise
  • Potable Water: 18,000 Gal. With RO Unit (4,000 gal./day)
  • Galley Messing: 14
  • Speed:12 knots
  • Range: 6,000 nautical miles
  • Year Built/Converted: 1984/1994

    Normal Complement:
  • 11 ship's crew
  • 29 other (including technicians & sub crew, if required)

  • Dry Lab (468 sq. ft.)
  • Wet Lab (288 sq. ft.)
  • Environmental Lab (85 sq. ft.)
  • Mechanical Maintenance, with mill drill, lathe, sanders, band saw, vise, etc. (272 sq. ft.)
  • Electronics Lab, with test equipment, spares, etc. (224 sq. ft.)
  • Video & Computer Lab (136 sq. ft.)
  • Data Acquisition and R.O.V. Lab (152 sq. ft.)
  • Briefing room with 27" monitor, stereo (192 sq. ft.)
  • Compressor room with two Mako 5000 PSI compressors, McElroy 90 cu. ft./min @ 150 PSI Ship's Compressor 208v. 1ph. 60 hz. and UPS receptacles available in labs Haskell Oxygen and Helium pumps
  • Mako air filters, four T-cylinders (scuba air bank) and 12,000 cu. ft. air and oxygen storage.


    Links to news articles, press releases, and other media stories related to the CATALYST ONE coral mapping mission are provided below.

  • PRESS RELEASE 12.03.08: Waitt Institute Launches Deep-Sea Exploration Program Featuring Robot Sub Tool Kit

  • NEWS STORY 12.03.08: Harbor Branch expedition will use first-of-their-kind underwater vehicles to map reefs


  • NEWS STORY 12.04.08: Underwater vehicles may change what we know about our reefs

  • NEWS STORY 12.04.08: Mapping Underwater Coral Reefs

  • NEWS STORY 12.05.08: Deep-sea exploration to conduct high-tech survey of Florida's endangered coral reefs

  • PRESS RELEASE 12.12.08: Waitt Institute's CATALYST Expedition a Success; Three Deep Sea Coral Reefs Discovered

  • PRESS RELEASE 12.12.08: Expedition Uncovers Three Never-before Identified Coral Reefs Off Florida's Coast

  • NEWS STORY 12.12.08: New reefs found near Cape Canaveral


    Harbor Branch scientists and marine operations personnel have carried out several past science missions focused on Florida's deepwater coral ecosystems. Three of these missions were covered by @Sea and are archived on the website:

  • Florida's Deep Water Oases: Exploration Of A Deep Reef Ecosystem
    (Mission Dates: 05.31.2006 to 06.09.2006)

  • Protecting a National Treasure: Florida's Oculina Deepwater Coral Reefs
    (Mission Dates: 10.12.2005 to 10.20.2005)

  • Oculina Coral Banks: Restoring the Oculina Bank Continues
    (Mission Date: 03.24.2001)

    Additionally, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council has assembled an informational page describing the Lophelia coral organism and describing a proposal to designate six deepwater coral areas as Habitats Areas of Particular Concern (HAPC).


    The CATALYST ONE and @Sea team members firmly believe that education and outreach is an important component of the current mission. We're especially delighted to hear that science students are following the mission via the @Sea website as part of their classroom experience.

    CATALYST ONE Principal Investigator John Reed took a break from his busy day on board the ship to answer questions submitted by students from Ms. Cristina Veresan's science classes at Southport Middle School in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The students have been following the mission in the classroom and at home, and are looking forward to a school visit from John after the mission wraps.

    Click here to read the students' excellent questions and John's responses.

  • © 2008-2009, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution