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Scientific Diving

Diving Case Studies

Learn more about some of our diving studies and investigations below.


EPA diver conducting a coral reef demographic survey.

Coral Reef Survey

St. John, Caribbean Sea

Each year EPA divers assist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA) annual National Coral Reef Monitoring Survey. These monitoring assessments focus on fish and coral diversity and abundance, and track shifts in "hard bottom" substrate.

Case study: Coral reef survey in the U.S. Virgin Islands


Ocean Acidification

Oceans have a critical role in protecting the earth, but they are threatened by greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide. Some of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere eventually mixes with seawater and forms acid. This process over time has made ocean water more acidic.

EPA is collecting ocean acidification data in order to better understand the problem and to help protect human health and the environment. Watch this video to learn more about EPA's work on ocean acidification.


Video: Ocean Acidification - EPA scientists help explain the complex issue of ocean acidification, featuring video and data collected by EPA divers.


Wyckoff Eagle-Harbor Cleanup

Bainbridge Island, Washington

Our divers have been supporting cleanup activities at the Wyckoff-Eagle Harbor Superfund Site since the early 1980’s. Work has included sediment sampling, monitoring eelgrass beds, various surveys, and installing "no anchor buoys" to protect the protective "cap" installed on the seafloor.

Case study: Diving support at Wyckoff-Eagle Harbor


Video: Wyckoff-Eagle Harbor - Check out the stunning underwater footage of tar pools on the seafloor at this Superfund cleanup in Bainbridge Island, Washington.


EPA diver displays a passive sampler ready for the lab after spending months on the river bottom soaking up available PCBs.

Passive Sampling for PCBs

Lower Duwamish River, Seattle, Washington

Our divers were asked to plan, deploy, and retrieve passive water sampling devices in the Lower Duwamish River to help demonstrate whether these devices could be useful in determining the bioavailability of PCBs on the river bottom in porewater and near-bottom river water.

Case study: Passive sampling demonstration