The US expedition, Life on the Edge: Extreme Corals 2010 has just set sail from North Carolina, bound for Florida. During their 15-day mission, a team of researchers and educators will explore new features found on acoustic seafloor maps from the Gulf of Mexico to northern Florida east of Jacksonville. Mission scientists will map live coral and associated animals and strive to understand the importance of deep coral ecosystems as fisheries habitat, reservoirs of ocean biodiversity, and recorders of past changes in climate and ocean conditions. The cruise is led by Chief Scientists, Dr. Steve Ross (University of North Carolina Wilmington) and Dr. Sandra Brooke (Marine Conservation Biology Institute). North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences educator Mike Dunn (ncmuseummike) and science teacher Beverly Owens (owensscience) will be blogging from the ship during the mission.