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We put the deep ocean within reach.

Ride Along with Alvin

Follow the NDSF blog as Alvin returns to reserch and puts 6500 meters within reseach of the science community

 Our Vehicles. Your Tools.

NDSF operates a fleet of underwater vehicles that enables the oceanographic community to explore, sample, and map the deep ocean and to meet the needs of a changing research landscape.


A 3-person research submersible capable of reaching 4500 meters depth and of supporting custom sensors and samplers. The Alvin Team delivers reliability built from nearly 5,000 successful dives.


A time-tested remotely operated vehicle system capable of multi-day missions to 6500 meters. Observers get real-time, HD video and data, as well as physical samples from the seafloor.


A flexible, fully autonomous vehicle rated to 6000 meters that carries a wide and growing array of instruments. The Sentry Team is also skilled at carrying out multi-vehicle missions.

Dive with us

Plan an expedition

From proposal preparation to cruise logistics to data access, we help you execute a successful research mission.

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Use cases

Learn how NDSF vehicles can increase data collection and take better advantage of your time at sea.

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First time user?

Learn how our assets can extend your research to depths you may have never thought possible.

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A Conversation with Dr. Anna Michel

August 5, 2022

WHOI engineer and chief scientist of the National Deep Submergence Facility, Anna Michel, stands in front of Alvin. (Photo by Marley Parker, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) Dr. Anna Michel became Chief Scientist of the National Deep Submergence Facility in 2021. This is her first expedition with Alvin.    We manage three vehicles specially designed to…

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Picking up pieces of tectonic plates

August 5, 2022

WHOI geochemist Frieder Klein uses a rock saw to slice through one of the rock samples collected from the edge of the North American continental plate during his Alvin dive. (Photo by Marley Parker, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) In the ship’s Wet Lab, Ken Rubin holds a chunk of rock that Frieder Klein has just…

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Foraminifera for the win!

August 3, 2022

Ashley Burkett exclaims with delight as she plucks foraminifera from a glass sponge collected from the sea floor. Marley Parker © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution In Atlantis‘ Main Lab, Ashley Burkett, peers into her microscope and pokes at the glass sponge sitting on the stage.  “Yes!!” she exclaims, keeping her eyes trained on the ocular…

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Comiclog: Rosa León-Zayas

August 3, 2022

Image for larger view. Willamette University environmental microbiologist Rosa León-Zayas describes her path, from a young girl living in a small town in Puerto Rico who first dreamed of being a surgeon, to a graduate student building a new community around her. Read her full interview at

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Reaching extreme depths with DAP

August 2, 2022

The R/V Atlantis deck team successfully recovers the Deep Sea Autonomous Profiler (DAP) on the evening of Thursday, July 28th, 2022. (Photo by Marley Parker, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) On the back deck of R/V Atlantis, several members of the science team don work vests and hard hats and peer over the starboard rail. A…

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Hunting for deep-ocean plastics

August 1, 2022

Erin Garza processes a plastic sample collected from the Puerto Rico Trench. (Photo by Marley Parker, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) As the Alvin Team runs through their pre-dive checklist, Erin Garza and Erik Cordes pose for a quick photo on the aft deck. It’s just after 6am, but they both look eager to get the…

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