During the 2000 Sustainable Seas mission to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, scientists will study sunken ships, both old and new. Using DeepWorker, expedition members plan to explore and videotape the remains of a late 17th-century shipwreck and its surrounding habitat. The other submerged ships slated for investigation were intentionally sunk in recent years to create artificial reefs for recreational scuba divers to visit, a practice intended to relieve some of the pressure on the sanctuary's natural reefs. Sustainable Seas researchers seek to determine the impact of these structures on fish diversity, population, and spawning.

Other dives will assess the abundance and distribution of key fish and bottom-dwelling species, as well as the numbers of the now rare queen conch.

 

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