Hades: Kermadec Trench Expedition 2014

RV Thomas G Thompson Photo: Sadie Mills

From April 10 through May 20, 2014, a team of scientists and engineers from seven different research institutions will use HROV Nereus, a deep-diving remotely operated vehicle, to explore part of the Kermedec Trench, one of the deepest in world, in a systematic effort to achieve ambitious research goals.

About the Cruise

It’s hard to believe that any part of our planet remains undiscovered. But even today a vast part of Earth has almost entirely escaped human eyes. The Hadal Zone—those parts of the global ocean more than 6,000 meters deep—is still largely unexplored. That is where we are going to learn how life can exist at extreme depths.

After initial discoveries in the mid-1800s, much of what we know about life in the deep ocean, and in the ocean trenches that form much of the Hadal Zone, comes from a handful of scientific expeditions and a few opportunistic samples of animals, sediment, and rock brought to the surface. Over the next 40 days, a team of scientists and engineers will use Nereus, a deep-diving remotely operated vehicle, to explore part of the Kermedec Trench, one of the deepest in world, in a systematic effort to achieve ambitious research goals:

  • Examine the composition, abundance, diversity, and community structure of life along the trench and up its flank onto the adjacent abyssal plain.
  • Investigate how organic carbon and bacterial biomass is distributed in trench and abyssal environments and how it might serve as food for larger hadal organisms.
  • Relate this distribution of carbon and bacterial biomass to the distribution and composition of communities and ecosystems at different depths and in different topographical regions.
  • Explore the roles that different topographical features, such trenches and plains, and various ocean depths play in the nature and diversity of life in the trench.
  • Examine correlations between ocean depths and food availability and trench organisms’ metabolic and respiration rates.
  • Learn how different species have evolved to survive at different depths.

The Kermadec Trench runs northeast from the North Island of New Zealand (shown in red in this animation) to the Louisville Seamount Chain. It is the fifth deepest oceanic trench in the world and formed by subduction, a geophysical process in which the Pacific tectonic plate is pushed beneath the Indo-Australian Plate. (Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Blogs from the Cruise

Learn more about the HADES (HADal Ecosystem Studies) project.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies


Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.