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From the Stacks 

April 19, 2011

Cordell Bank

Cordell Bank is located north of the Gulf of the Farallones and about 22 miles west of Point Reyes. Discovered in 1869 by Edward Cordell, it remained unexplored until Robert Schmieder and his team of researchers conducted numerous dives in the area from the late 1970s till the mid-1980s. Schmieder formed the Cordell Expeditions non-profit organization to research the vibrant marine community of Cordell Bank.

The California Academy of Sciences is participating in a project to curate and archive the historic photographic slides of Cordell Expeditions and make them available to the public online. A joint effort of the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Cordell Expeditions, and the California Academy of Sciences, the project is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Through this project, the Academy will become the archival repository for the original photographic slides taken by the divers. Over the years, Cordell Expeditions produced more than 3000 images of the diverse community of Cordell Bank. Cordell Expeditions’ divers were the first to document this amazing habitat and their photos were instrumental in demonstrating the need to establish the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Soon these historic photos will be available online.

You can get a sneak preview of these amazing images below.

Here’s a common sight on Cordell Bank:

Cordell Expeditions © California Academy of Sciences

Cordell Expeditions/ Don Dvorak © California Academy of Sciences

The vibrant underwater community includes many different species:

Cordell Expeditions/Don Dvorak © California Academy of Sciences

And here’s a member of the dive team:

Cordell Expeditions/Jerry Seawell © California Academy of Sciences

-Kristin Jeffries, Library Assistant for Archives and Digital Collections

Filed under: Archives,Photography — Archives & Special Collections @ 4:01 pm

1 Comment »

  1. How an amazing undewater world is! Pretty nice sights! I have heard a lot about Cordell Bank. In typical conditions the Cordell Bank is really upstream of most/all human disturbance. The California current, moving southward, brings pristine ocean waters into this area, and there aren’t major industrial, agricultural or municipal operations going north all the way to Alaska. Also the waters in this area are very rough which keeps people away, and there’s no oil drilling allowed either. This is how, so close to the Bay Area, it is possible to have pristine ocean conditions – it’s upstream of human inputs that come through the Golden Gate. As noted, the one stressor in this area appears to be declining pH (acidification) that happens due to increasing CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere. This area will be a good study area for effects of ocean acidification.

    Comment by Gerald Pray — March 28, 2012 @ 7:14 am

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