Skip to main content

Region Results: Americas

Detailed results on the deep-sea capacity of 55 geographical areas in the Americas, including indices for subregional comparisons.

Published onSep 12, 2022
Region Results: Americas
·

1. Region Overview

There are four subregions in the Americas: Northern America, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America (Figure 1). These subregions encompass 60 geographical areas (GeoAreas), 36 of which are sovereign countries (60%), and 24 of which are dependent territories (40%) (Figure 2A; Americas GeoAreas)[1]. Economically, 20 GeoAreas are high income (33%), 19 are upper middle income (32%), six are lower middle income (10%), and 15 are not classified (25%) (Figure 2B; Americas Income Groups)[2]. Twenty-nine GeoAreas in the Americas (48%) are Small Island Developing States (SIDS) (Americas GeoAreas)[1].

Figure 1

Americas Subregions
Map of the Americas showing the four subregions used in the 2022 Global Deep-Sea Capacity Assessment: Northern America, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. Light blue indicates the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of Northern America; light green indicates the exclusive economic zones of Latin America & the Caribbean. [1][3][4][5]


This assessment includes information about the technical and human capacity of 55 GeoAreas in the Americas. For 36 GeoAreas, we have both survey and research data; for 19 GeoAreas, we have only research data (Figure 2C; Americas Data Sources). For the remaining five GeoAreas, we did not collect research data; these include landlocked countries, Bolivia and Paraguay and uninhabited or not permanently inhabited territories, Navassa Island, Clipperton Island, and South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands.

Figure 2

GeoArea Information
(A) Number of sovereign countries (blue) and dependent territories (orange) in each subregion of the Americas. (B) Number of high income (blue), upper middle income (orange), lower middle income (yellow), low income (teal), and not classified (grey) GeoAreas in each subregion of the Americas. (C) Number of GeoAreas in the Americas with survey and research data (blue), research data only (yellow), and no data (grey) used in this assessment for each subregion. [1][2]


Fifty-eight, or 97% of the GeoAreas in the Americas, claim marine Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), covering a total area of 38,804,000 km2 (Figure 3; Americas EEZs)[3][4][5]. Of those, all GeoAreas in the Americas have deep ocean in their EEZs (>200 m), encompassing an area of approximately 30,522,000 km2, or 79% of the total EEZ area within the jurisdiction of GeoAreas in the Americas. 

Figure 3

Exclusive Economic Zones
(A) Number of GeoAreas with >1% deep ocean within their EEZ (blue) and no EEZ (yellow). (B) Area of each depth zone for all EEZs claimed in each subregion of the Americas. (C) Area of EEZs in the Americas by oceanographic depth zone. [3][4][5]


The United States of America, Chile, Canada, Brazil, and Mexico have the largest deep-ocean areas within their EEZs in the Americas. While Northern America comprises the smallest number of GeoAreas, they claim the largest EEZ area in the Americas and the largest deep-ocean area. GeoAreas in Central America claim the smallest EEZ in the Americas. On the other hand, the Caribbean comprises the largest number of GeoAreas but claims the smallest EEZ area and smallest area of deep ocean within its GeoAreas’ EEZs. 

The largest depth zone by area lies between 2,000-4,000 meters below sea level (mbsl), covering 36% of all EEZs of the Americas, followed by 4,000-6,000 mbsl (24% of all EEZs in the region) (Figure 3C). The largest depth zone in Northern America and the Caribbean is between 4,000-6,000 mbsl. The largest depth zone in Central and South America is between 2,000-4,000 mbsl.

RESEARCHER PERSPECTIVE
"The exploration and research opportunities for the Americas are incredible. The Central America subregion is the least explored and offers excellent international collaboration and local research opportunities. The Middle America Trench also remains almost entirely unexplored and represents an ideal region for deep-sea discovery." --Sergio Cambronero-Solano, National University of Costa Rica, Costa Rica


2. Survey Responses & Demographics

2.1 Geographical & Demographic Representation

Respondents were asked four questions about their geographic and demographic representation: which GeoArea they represent, in what GeoArea they live, their gender identification, and their age group.

Which GeoArea would you like to represent for this survey? (Q1)
One hundred twenty-eight complete surveys representing 36 GeoAreas in the Americas were submitted to the Global Deep-Sea Capacity Assessment Survey (Figure 4). Thirty-eight were for Northern America, 22 responses were for Central America, 31 for the Caribbean, and 37 for South America. We received the most surveys from the United States (34), Venezuela (11), and Trinidad and Tobago (7). We received only one survey response each from 15 GeoAreas. Most respondents lived in the GeoArea they were representing (89%).

Figure 4

Respondent Geographic Representation
GeoAreas in the Americas with one survey response (A), 2-3 survey responses (B), 4-9 survey responses (C), and 10 or more survey responses (D). [3][4][5]

Figure 5

Respondent Demographic Representation
(A)
Gender identity of survey respondents for each subregion of the Americas. (B) Number of survey respondents by age group for each subregion of the Americas.

As what gender do you identify? (Q41)
Seventy of the respondents for the Americas were male (55%), while 55 were female (43%), one was gender fluid (1%), and two preferred not to answer (2%) (Figure 5A). 

What is your age? (Q39)
Overall, the Americas had the most representation from respondents in the 35-44 yr age group (37%), followed by the 25-34 yr age group (22%) (Figure 5B). The least represented age group was 18-24 (2%).

2.2 Professional Representation

Respondents were asked four questions about their professional representation: what is their highest level of education completed, in what organizational sector do they work, what are their primary roles, and in what marine environments do they work.

What is the highest degree or education level you have completed? (Q42)
The majority of respondents for the Americas held advanced degrees: 64 had a doctorate (50%), and 36 had a master's degree (28%). Twenty held a bachelor's degree (16%), and eight had completed some graduate school, high school, or other education (6%) (Figure 6A).

What is the organizational sector of your affiliation? (Q43)
Most respondents for the Americas worked in academia (41%) or government (32%). Smaller percentages of respondents worked for not-for-profit organizations (10%), non-governmental organizations (8%), or other sectors (10%) (Figure 6B).

Figure 6

Respondent Professional Representation
(A)
Completed education level of respondents for each subregion of the Americas. (B) Organizational sector of respondents for each subregion: academia (Acad), government (Gov), not-for-profit (NFP), non-governmental organization (NGO), or other. (C) Number of respondents who identified with up to three roles that they represent in their communities: science/research (Sci), education/outreach (Edu), conservation/advocacy (Cons), management/policy/law (Mgt), student/early career researcher (ECR), engineering/technology (Eng), developing nation/community (Dev), aquatics/recreation (Aqua), traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), Government (Gov), or other.


What are the primary roles you represent in your GeoArea? (Q5)
Respondents were asked to select up to three primary roles they represented in their communities from a list of the following options: science/research, education/outreach, policy/law/management/government, developing nation/community, engineering/technology, traditional knowledge, aquatics/recreation, industry/investment, philanthropy, student/early career, conservation/advocacy they were also allowed to enter free-text if a role of theirs was not an option.

Respondents were asked to identify up to three primary roles they represent in their communities (Figure 6C). One hundred nine considered themselves scientists or researchers (85%), 54 worked in education and outreach (42%), 40 in conservation (31%), and 26 in policy, law, and management (20%). Twelve were students or early career researchers (9%). Fewer respondents represented engineering/technology, developing nations/communities, aquatics or recreation, traditional ecological knowledge, and other roles.

If you carry out field research, in what marine environment(s) do you work? (Q6)
Respondents were asked to select all marine environments in which they do field work from a list of the following options: inshore, nearshore, continental shelf, deepwater, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a marine environment in which they work was not an option.

Figure 7

Respondent Field Research Environments
Number of respondents who work in each marine environment, by subregion of the Americas: inshore, nearshore, continental shelf (Shelf), deep ocean (Deep), other areas (Other), or none of the above (None).

The largest fraction of respondents worked in deep water (49%) (Figure 7). 

Northern America had the largest fraction of respondents who worked in deep water (79%), followed by South America (28%), Central America (23%), and the Caribbean (11%). Fifty-nine respondents (47%) worked in more than one field environment. Twenty-two respondents (17%) worked in other environments or did not conduct field work. 

3. Issues, Challenges, & Opportunities

3.1 Highlights

  • Issues | Basic science & exploration, conservation & protection, and fisheries & aquaculture were the three most important deep-sea issues identified by respondents for the Americas.

  • Challenges | Funding, access to deep submergence vehicles, and human capacity were the three most important challenges identified by respondents for the Americas.

  • Opportunities | Less expensive data collection technology, training opportunities, and better data tools were identified as the most exciting opportunities by respondents for the Americas.

3.2 Deep-Sea Issues

What are the three most important deep-sea issues in your GeoArea? (Q3)
Respondents were asked to select up to three deep-sea issues that they considered most important for their GeoArea from a list of the following options: basic science & exploration, fisheries & aquaculture, seabed mining, conservation & protection, maritime archaeology & history, offshore oil & gas, renewable energy, safety & security, telecommunications, and climate change; they were also allowed to enter free-text if an issue was not an option.

Basic science & exploration (22% of all selections), conservation & protection (21%), and fisheries & aquaculture (16%) were the three most important issues across the Americas (Table 1).

Table 1

Subregion of the Americas

Most important deep-sea issues identified by respondents for the Americas

Northern America

Basic science & exploration (21%)
Conservation and protection (20%)
Climate change (18%)

Central America

Basic science and exploration (27%)
Conservation and protection (21%)
Fisheries and aquaculture (19%)

Caribbean

Fisheries & aquaculture (22%)
Conservation & protection (19%)
Basic science & exploration (16%)

South America

Basic science & exploration (25%)
Conservation & protection (23%)
Offshore oil and gas (20%)

In Northern America, basic science & exploration was considered the most important deep-sea issue, followed by conservation and protection and climate change. In Central America, the most important deep-sea issues were basic science and exploration, conservation and protection (21%), and fisheries and aquaculture. In the Caribbean, fisheries & aquaculture was considered the most important deep-sea issue, followed by conservation & protection and basic science & exploration. In South America, basic science & exploration was considered the most important deep-sea issue, followed by conservation & protection, and offshore oil and gas. 

3.3 Deep-Sea Challenges

What are the top three challenges to deep-sea exploration and research in your GeoArea? (Q33)
Respondents were asked to select up to three deep-sea exploration and research challenges that they consider most important for their GeoArea from a list of the following options: funding, access to vessels, access to deep submergence vehicles, access to deep-sea sensors, access to data tools, scalability of technologies, human capacity/knowledge to do deep-sea research, lack of connections with other deep-sea researchers; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a challenge was not an option.

Funding (32% of all selections), access to deep submergence vehicles (16%), and human capacity (14%) were the three most important challenges in the Americas. Funding was the most important challenge in every subregion of the Americas (Table 2).

Table 2

Subregion of the Americas

Most important deep-sea challenges identified by respondents for the Americas

Northern America

Funding (31%)
Access to vessels (20%)
Access to deep submergence vehicles (20%)

Central America

Funding (34%)
Capacity/knowledge to do deep sea research (19%)
Access to deep submergence vehicles (19%)

Caribbean

Funding (29%)
Capacity/knowledge to do deep sea research (22%)
Access to deep submergence vehicles (17%)

South America

Funding (33%)
Access to vessels (18%)
Access to deep submergence vehicles (13%)

In Northern America, funding was the most important challenge to deep-sea exploration and research, followed by access to vessels and DSVs. In Central America, Funding was considered the most important challenge, followed by human capacity and access to DSVs. In the Caribbean, funding was the most important challenge, followed by human capacity and access to vessels. In South America, funding, access to vessels, and access to DSVs were the most important challenges. 

3.4 Deep-Sea Opportunities

What are you most excited about in the next 5-10 years for deep-sea exploration and research in your GeoArea? (Q34)
Respondents were asked to select up to three opportunities in the next 5-10 years that they were most excited about for their GeoArea from a list of the following options: technology that can go deeper, less expensive data collection technologies, better/more precise data collection technologies, scalable platforms & sensors, better data access and analysis tools, training opportunities, and networking/connecting with others; they were also allowed to enter free-text if an opportunity was not an option.

Less expensive data collection technology (19%), training opportunities (18%), and better data tools (14%) were identified as the most exciting opportunities by respondents for the Americas (Table 3). 

Table 3

Subregion of the Americas

Most exciting opportunities identified by respondents for the Americas

Northern America

Less expensive data collection technology (24%)
Scalable platforms and sensors (15%)
Technology that can go deeper (14%)

Central America

Training opportunities (25%)
Less expensive data collection technology (18%)
Connecting with others (15%)

Caribbean

Training opportunities (24%)
Less expensive data collection technology (20%)
Better data tools (15%)

South America

Training opportunities (18%)
Less expensive data collection technology (15%)
Better data tools (17%)

In Northern America, respondents were most excited about less expensive data collection technology, scalable platforms and sensors, and technology that can go deeper. In Central America, respondents were most excited about training opportunities, less expensive data collection technology, and connecting with others. In the Caribbean and South America, respondents were most excited about training opportunities, less expensive data collection technology, and better data tools.

“I believe that research vessels, submersibles, ROVs, infrastructure and technology are needed in Mexico to have greater access to the deep sea. In the case of the exploration and sampling of deep hydrothermal vents in national waters, for the most part we can only do it through foreign expeditions, by invitation or collaboration, which is scarce. It is worrying that foreign researchers have more opportunities to study ecosystems that are in our country than Mexican researchers.” 

“Considero que hacen falta embarcaciones de investigación, sumergibles, ROVs, infraestructura y tecnología en México para tener un mayor acceso a mar profundo. En el caso de la exploración y el muestreo de ventilas hidrotermales profundas en aguas nacionales, en su mayoría sólo podemos hacerlo a través de expediciones extranjeras, por invitación o colaboración, lo cual es escaso. Es preocupante que investigadores extranjeros tengan más oportunidades de estudiar ecosistemas que están en nuestro país que investigadores mexicanos.”

—Respondent for Mexico, Central America


4. Status of Deep-Sea Exploration & Research

4.1 Highlights

  • Global Context | While respondents for Northern America had the second-lowest agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in their GeoAreas, they had the highest agreement that they have in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. Respondents for Latin America & the Caribbean had the lowest agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important and that they have in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. 

  • Regional Comparisons | 

    • Northern America had a low to moderate agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, and high agreement that they had both in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. 

    • South America had a low to moderate agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, a low to moderate agreement that they had in-country deep-sea technology, and a moderate to high agreement that they had in-country deep-sea expertise. 

    • Central America and the Caribbean had a low to moderate agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in the respondents’ GeoAreas and a low agreement that they had both in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. 

4.2 Importance, Tools, & Expertise

How would you assess the status of deep-sea (>200 m) exploration and research in your GeoArea? (Q4)
Survey respondents were asked to assess the status of deep-sea exploration and research in their GeoArea by stating to what extent they agreed with the following statements on a five-point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree:

  1. Deep-sea exploration and research are considered important in my GeoArea.

  2. We have in-country technology to conduct deep-sea exploration and research.

  3. We have in-country expertise to conduct deep-sea exploration and research.

Overall, 48% of respondents for the Americas disagreed that exploration and research were considered important in their GeoArea (Figure 8A). Half of the respondents (50%) disagreed that they had the in-country technology to conduct deep-sea exploration and research (Figure 8B). More than half (56%) agreed they had in-country deep-sea expertise (Figure 8C). 

Figure 8

Deep-Sea Importance, Technology, & Expertise
(A)
Number of respondents who agreed (green) or disagreed (blue) that deep-sea exploration and research is considered important in their GeoArea, by subregion of the Americas. (B) Number of respondents who agreed (green) or disagreed (blue) that their GeoArea has in-country deep-sea tools and technology, by subregion. (C) Number of respondents who agreed (green) or disagreed (blue) that their GeoArea has in-country deep-sea expertise, by subregion.


In Northern America, more respondents agreed than disagreed with all statements at rates ranging from 47% to 92%. In Central America, most respondents disagreed with all three statements at rates ranging from 46 to 64%. In the Caribbean, the majority of respondents also disagreed with all statements at 55% to 74%. In South America, 57% of respondents disagreed that deep-sea exploration and research are considered important in the GeoArea and that they had in-country deep-sea tools and technology (70%), but 57% agreed that they had in-country deep-sea expertise.

4.3 Deep-Sea Capacity Status Parameters

Based on the survey results of Question 4 above, we aggregated the responses for which respondents agreed or strongly agreed that (1) deep-sea exploration and research are considered important in their GeoArea, (2) they have in-country deep-sea technology, and (3) they have in-country deep-sea expertise. These data were used to calculate three Deep-Sea Capacity Status Parameters (SPs) to compare respondents’ perceptions of the relative importance of deep-sea exploration and research in their GeoArea, and the existence of deep-sea technology and expertise in their GeoArea. The SPs were calculated for each subregion of the world.

Figure 9

Deep-Sea Capacity Status Parameters
(A)
Number of subregions in the Americas with each Importance Status Parameter (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). (B) Number of subregions in the Americas with each Technology Status Parameter (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). (C) Number of subregions in the Americas with each Expertise Status Parameter (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey).


The Importance Status Parameter (Importance SP) assessed the respondent-reported importance of deep-sea exploration and research in their GeoArea (Figure 9A). Northern America and Latin America & the Caribbean had the lowest average Importance SPs in the world, indicating that respondents for these regions thought that deep-sea exploration and research were generally not considered important in their GeoArea. All subregions in Latin America & the Caribbean had low Importance SPs of 2, while Northern America had an Importance SP of 3, indicating moderate agreement by respondents that deep-sea exploration and research were considered important in their GeoArea.

The Technology Status Parameter (Technology SP) assessed the respondent-reported existence of deep-sea tools and technology in their GeoArea (Figure 9B). Northern America had the highest average Technology SP. In contrast, Latin America & the Caribbean had the lowest average Technology SP worldwide, indicating a wide disparity in respondents’ perceived existence of deep-sea tools and technology in their GeoAreas. As such, Northern America had a high Technology SP of 5, while all subregions of Latin America & the Caribbean had very low Technology SPs of 1. While these Technology SPs are low, they are, in fact, comparable to approximately half of the subregions worldwide. 

The Expertise Status Parameter (Expertise SP) assessed the respondent-reported existence of deep-sea expertise in their GeoArea (Figure 9C). Northern America also had the highest average Expertise SP, while Latin America & the Caribbean had the lowest average Expertise SP in the world, along with Oceania. These parameters indicate a wide disparity in respondents’ perceived existence of deep-sea expertise required to carry out deep-sea exploration and research in their GeoArea. Northern America had a high Expertise SPs of 5. The three subregions of Latin America & the Caribbean had low to moderate Expertise SPs of 2 or 3, comparable to most other subregions worldwide.

4.4 Status Parameter Groups

The Deep-Sea Capacity Status Parameters (SPs) are based on respondents’ opinions of their GeoArea and are calculated on a scale of 1 for low agreement to 5 for high agreement with each statement (Data Collection & Analysis). SPs vary by subregion, which are classified into six SP Groups based on the level of agreement with each of the status parameters (Table 4). Using the SP Groups, we can evaluate respondents’ perceptions of the importance of and existence of in-country resources for deep-sea exploration and research at the subregional level.

Table 4

SP Group

Importance

Tech

Expertise

Subregions

A

High

High

High

Northern Europe, Western Europe, Eastern Asia

B

Low

High

High

Northern America, Australia & New Zealand

C

Low

Low

Mid

South America, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Western Asia, Northern Africa

D

High

Low

Mid

Southeastern Asia, Western Africa

E

High

Low

Low

Southern Asia, Eastern Africa, Melanesia, Micronesia

F

Low

Low

Low

Central America, Caribbean, Middle Africa, Southern Africa, Polynesia

Subregions in the Americas spanned SP Groups B, C, and F, demonstrating very high variation in the in-country importance of deep-sea exploration and research and the perceived existence of in-country tools and expertise in this region.

Northern America was in SP Group B, indicating a low to moderate agreement that deep-sea exploration and research were considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, and high agreement that they had both in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. The subregion of Australia & New Zealand was also in this group.

South America was in SP Group C, indicating a low to moderate agreement that deep-sea exploration and research were considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, a low to moderate agreement that they had in-country deep-sea technology, and a moderate to high agreement that they had in-country deep-sea expertise. Other subregions in this group include Northern Africa and Southern Europe.

Central America and the Caribbean were in SP Group F, indicating a low to moderate agreement that deep-sea exploration and research were considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, and a low agreement that they had both in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. Other subregions in this group include Southern Africa and Polynesia.

"The Government has an excellent programme that allows junior researchers to join international research vessels conducting research in Barbados's waters. This has enabled capacity building in deep sea research and data collection." --Respondent for Barbados, Caribbean


5. Deep-Sea Capacity Presence, Accessibility, & Satisfaction

5.1 Highlights

  • Global Context | Northern America had the second-highest average presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, and respondents had the second-highest average access to technology. They also had the highest average satisfaction with the technology to which they had access compared to other regions worldwide. Latin America & the Caribbean had the second-lowest average presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, and respondents had the second-lowest average access to technology and the lowest average satisfaction with the technology to which they had access compared to other regions worldwide.

  • Regional Presence, Accessibility, & Satisfaction | Northern America had a mid to high presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology and high access to and satisfaction with deep-sea technology. South America had a mid to high presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology and low to mid access to and satisfaction with deep-sea technology. Central America and the Caribbean had a low presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, low access to technology, and low to mid satisfaction with the technology to which they had access. 

5.2 Presence, Accessibility, & Satisfaction Indices

We assessed organizations, industries, vessels, DSVs, sensors, and data tools using research to identify the presence of capacity in each GeoArea and survey responses to identify accessibility to and satisfaction with vessels, DSVs, sensors, and data tools in each subregion. We used this data to calculate three Deep-Sea Capacity Indices (DSC Indices) to enable comparisons between locations in terms of presence of, access to, and satisfaction with the various types of capacities.

In contrast to the Status Parameters, which are focused on the overall respondent perception of their GeoArea, the DSC Indices represent extensive research on marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology presence, survey respondents’ access to specific types of deep-sea technology, and respondents’ satisfaction with the technology to which they have access. The DSC Indices, therefore, are an initial attempt to assess the relative ability of researchers to conduct deep-sea exploration and research.

Figure 10

Deep-Sea Capacity Indices
(A)
Number of GeoAreas in the Americas with each DSC Presence Index (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of capacity types present in each GeoArea. (B) Number of subregions in the Americas with each DSC Accessibility Index (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSCAIs indicate higher access to more types of deep-sea capacities. (C) Number of subregions in the Americas with each DSC Satisfaction Index (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSCSIs indicate more overall satisfaction with the deep-sea capacities to which respondents had access.


The Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of organizations and diversity of marine industries, vessels, DSVs, sensor systems, and data tools in each GeoArea; higher values indicate higher diversity of capacity types present in each GeoArea (Figure 10A). Northern America had the second-highest average DSCPIs globally, while Latin America & the Caribbean had the second-lowest, along with Africa. GeoAreas in Northern America had the highest DSCPIs with the lowest variation in the Americas, indicating that overall, GeoAreas in this subregion consistently had the most types of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology. The Caribbean had the lowest DSCPIs and highest variation, indicating a lower presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology in those subregions and less evenly distributed resources in this subregion. Brazil, Canada, and the United States had the maximum DSCPIs of 5. French Guiana, along with the Caribbean GeoAreas of Dominica, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, and Sint Eustatius, had the minimum DSCPIs of 1.

The Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of vessels, DSVs, sensor systems, and data tools in each subregion; higher values indicate higher access to more types of these deep-sea capacities in each subregion (Figure 10B). Northern America had the second-highest average DSCAIs globally, while Latin America & the Caribbean had the second-lowest, along with Africa. Northern America had the maximum DSCAI of 5, indicating that respondents for this subregion had the most access to the most types of deep-sea technology. All other subregions–Central America, South America, and the Caribbean–had a DSCAI of 2, indicating low but comparable access to many other subregions worldwide. 

The Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with vessels, DSVs, sensor systems, and data tools in each subregion, based on several factors, including cost, availability, and capabilities; higher values indicate more overall satisfaction with the deep-sea capacities to which respondents had access in each subregion (Figure 10C). Northern America had the highest average DSCSIs globally, while Latin America & the Caribbean had the lowest. Northern America had a high DSCSI of 4, indicating that respondents were more satisfied with deep-sea technology than in other subregions of the Americas and most subregions globally. Central America, South America, and the Caribbean had DSCSIs of 2 or 3, which were low to moderate but comparable to most other subregions worldwide.

5.3 Deep-Sea Capacity Index Groups

Using the Deep-Sea Capacity Indices, we identified four Deep-Sea Capacity Index Groups (DSC Groups) of subregions based on similarities concerning the presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, access to technology, and satisfaction with the technology available (Table 5).

Table 5

DSC Group

Presence

Access

Satisfaction

Subregions

A

Mid-high

High

High

Northern America, Northern Europe

B

Mid

Mid

Mid

Western Europe, Southern Europe, Eastern Asia, Southeastern Asia, Australia & New Zealand

C

Mid

Low-mid

Low-mid

South America, Eastern Europe, Western Asia, Southern Asia, Northern Africa, Southern Africa

D

Low

Low

Low-mid

Central America, Caribbean, Western Africa, Middle Africa, Eastern Africa, Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia

Subregions in the Americas were split between DSC Groups A, C, and D, demonstrating very high variation in presence of, access to, and satisfaction with marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology across the region.

Northern America was in DSC Group A, indicating mid to high presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology and high access to and satisfaction with deep-sea technology. Northern Europe is the only other subregion in this group.

South America was in DSC Group C, indicating mid to high presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology and low to mid access to and satisfaction with deep-sea technology. Other subregions in this group include Northern Africa and Southern Asia. 

Central America and the Caribbean were in DSC Group D, indicating a low presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, low access to technology, and low to mid satisfaction with the technology to which they have access. Other subregions in this group include Middle Africa and Micronesia.

6. Organizations & Industries

6.1 Highlights

  • Organizations | We identified 667 organizations in the Americas that do work in the deep sea: 261 universities and research laboratories, 244 government agencies and ministries, and 162 other organizations. Northern America had the highest normalized number of organizations per GeoArea; the Caribbean had the lowest. 

  • Industries | The most common industries found in the Americas were marine transportation and fisheries & aquaculture, followed by tourism. Deep-sea mining was the least common industry found.

6.2 Organizations

Which universities and/or research labs, government agencies/ministries, and other organizations in your GeoArea study the deep sea or deal with deep-sea issues? (Q7-9, Q7-9R)
We surveyed respondents and conducted manual research to identify deep-sea and marine organizations, including universities and research laboratories, government agencies and ministries, and other organizations. Each research and survey data source had a limit of 5 organizations per type (lab, government, or other) per GeoArea. Overall, 398 organizations in the Americas were found through manual research alone (60%), 189 were recorded from the survey alone (28%), and 80 were identified by both research and the survey (12%). 

Among the 667 deep-sea and marine organizations in the Americas, 261 were universities and research laboratories (39% of the total), 244 were government agencies and ministries (37%), and 162 were other organizations (24%) (Figure 11A). The greatest number of organizations were in the Caribbean, and the fewest were in Central America. When normalized by the number of organizations per GeoArea, Northern America had the highest average number of organizations per GeoArea; the Caribbean had the lowest. 

Figure 11

Organizations
(A)
Number of academic institutions (blue), government agencies (orange), and other organizations (grey) based in each subregion of the Americas that do marine and/or deep-sea work. Number of survey and research data sources for each subregion (yellow line). (B) Number of GeoAreas in the Americas with each Organizational Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). Higher Org DSCPIs indicate a higher abundance of organizations present in each GeoArea.


The Organizational Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Org DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of research, government, and other marine organizations in each GeoArea; higher values indicate a higher abundance of organizations present in each GeoArea.  

Org DSCPIs in the Americas ranged from very low (1) to very high (5) (Figure 11B), similar to most regions worldwide. Seven GeoAreas across the Americas (13%) had the maximum Org DSCPI of 5, while 14 GeoAreas (24%), all in Latin America & the Caribbean, had the minimum Org DSCPI of 1. In Northern America, two of the five GeoAreas, Canada and the United States, had high Org DSCPIs of 4 or 5 (40%). Half of Central American GeoAreas and almost three-quarters of Caribbean GeoAreas had low Org DSCPIs of 1 or 2.

6.3 Marine Industries

What marine industries exist in each GeoArea? (Q10R)
We researched whether or not ten different marine industries were present in each GeoArea from a list of the following options: fisheries & aquaculture, marine transportation, tourism, conservation & protection, offshore oil & gas, safety & surveillance, marine construction, marine research & development, ocean renewable energy, and deep-sea mining.

The industries most commonly found in the Americas were marine transportation and fisheries & aquaculture (each present in 98% of GeoAreas), followed by tourism (present in 96%) and conservation & protection (89%) (Figure 12A). Deep-sea mining was the least present industry, present only in Northern America. However, two GeoAreas were currently developing the industry: Brazil and Canada. We also found that five GeoAreas were currently prospecting for deep-sea mining: Bermuda, Cuba, Greenland, Mexico, and Peru.

Figure 12

Marine Industries: Research
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each region of the Americas in which each type of marine industry was found: fisheries & aquaculture (Fish Aqua), marine transportation (Trans), tourism (Tour), conservation & protection (Cons Prot), offshore oil & gas (Oil Gas), safety & surveillance (Safety Surv), research & development (R&D), renewable energy (Renew Energy), and deep-sea mining (Deep Mining). (B) Number of GeoAreas in the Americas with each Industry Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). High Industry DSCPIs indicate high diversity of industry types present in each GeoArea.


The United States of America was the only GeoArea that had all types of industries. Fifteen GeoAreas, mainly in the Caribbean, had five or fewer types of industries, including French Guiana in South America, in which we found only three types of marine industries.

The Industry Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Industry DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of marine industries in each GeoArea; higher values indicate a higher diversity of industry types present in each GeoArea. Industry DSCPIs in the Americas ranged from low (2) to very high (5) (Figure 12B). Five GeoAreas (9%) had the maximum Industry DSCPI of 5, and six GeoAreas (11%) had a low Industry DSCPI of 2. All GeoAreas in Northern America had high Industry DSCPIs of 4 or 5, Central America had none, and the Caribbean had one (3%). The Americas thus had the widest disparity between subregions of all regions worldwide.

What marine industries exist in your GeoArea? (Q10)
Survey respondents were asked to select all the marine industries in their GeoArea from a list of the following options: fisheries & aquaculture, marine transportation, tourism, conservation & protection, offshore oil & gas, safety & surveillance, marine construction, marine research & development, ocean renewable energy, deep-sea mining, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a marine industry in their GeoArea was not an option.

Figure 13

Marine Industries: Survey
Percent of survey respondents for each subregion of the Americas who indicated that each marine industry was present in their GeoArea. Industries included: fisheries & aquaculture (Fish Aqua), marine transportation (Trans), tourism (Tour), conservation & protection (Cons Prot), offshore oil & gas (Oil Gas), safety & surveillance (Safety Surv), research & development (R&D), renewable energy (Renew Energy), deep-sea mining (Deep Mining), or Other.

The majority of respondents for the Americas selected fisheries & aquaculture (95%) and marine transportation (88%), which were also the two most common industries found in our research (Figure 13). 

We found the most significant differences in research and survey results for conservation & protection and marine construction; significantly more of these industries were found in research than identified by survey respondents. Conversely, respondents selected deep-sea mining and offshore oil & gas considerably more than the number of deep-sea mining and offshore energy industries found through research for the Americas.

Other types of industries listed by respondents included cable communication and ocean-based carbon capture, and one respondent answered that none of the industries listed were present in their GeoArea.

7. Vessels

7.1 Highlights

  • Importance | 74% of respondents for the Americas considered ships and vessels important for their work.

  • Presence | Fishing vessels were the most common type of vessel, followed by recreational vessels. Traditional vessels were the least common type of vessel found in the Americas.

  • Access | The most accessible vessels in the Americas were research vessels, followed by fishing vessels. Just under a quarter of respondents for the Americas reported having no access to vessels.

  • Satisfaction | Respondents for the Americas were generally neutral to dissatisfied with vessels in their GeoArea, including all aspects of vessel operations. Respondents for Northern America were the most satisfied with vessel operation, while respondents for the Caribbean and South America were the least satisfied.

  • Potential Impact | 70% of respondents for the Americas reported that increased access to vessels would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work. 

7.2 Vessel Importance

How important are ships/vessels for your work? (Q11)
Respondents were asked how important ships and vessels were for their work on a five-point scale from not important to very important.

Figure 14

Vessels: Importance
Number of survey respondents for each subregion of the Americas who considered vessels very important or important (green) to little or not important (blue) for their work.

The majority of respondents for the Americas (74%) considered ships and vessels important for their work (Figure 14), the lowest of all regions.

In all subregions, 70-79% of respondents considered vessels important to very important for their work.

7.3 Vessel Presence: Research Results

What types of vessels are present in each GeoArea? (Q12R)
We researched the types of vessels present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea had research, fishing, cruise ships, recreational, traditional, or navy vessels. We recorded the presence or absence of each type of vessel, with presence meaning that at least one vessel of a given type was present in the GeoArea.

In the Americas, fishing vessels were the most present, found in 51 GeoAreas (91%), followed by recreational vessels in 43 GeoAreas (77%). Traditional vessels were the least present in 21 GeoAreas (39%) (Figure 15A). 

Figure 15

Vessels: Presence
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each subregion of the Americas in which each type of vessel was found through research: research vessels, fishing vessels, recreational vessels (Rec), traditional vessels (Trad), cruise ships (Cruise), or navy vessels (Navy). (B) Number of GeoAreas in the Americas with each Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). High Vessel DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of vessel types present in each GeoArea.


Six GeoAreas in Northern America, the Caribbean, and South America had all types of vessels. Fourteen GeoAreas, predominantly situated in the Caribbean, had fewer than three types of vessels. 

In Northern America, all five GeoAreas had fishing and recreational vessels. Fishing vessels were found in all GeoAreas of Central America and 90% of GeoAreas in the Caribbean. In South America, navy and recreational vessels were the most common.

The Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Vessel DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of vessel types in each GeoArea; higher values indicated higher diversity of vessel types present in each GeoArea. Using the Vessel DSCPI, we found that vessels were the technical capacity with the most extensive presence in the Americas (Figure 15B). Nineteen GeoAreas (35%) across all of the Americas had the maximum Vessel DSCPI of 5 (i.e., many types of vessels were present), and eight had a Vessel DSCPI of 4 (15%). Four GeoAreas, French Guiana, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthelemy, and Sint Eustatius, had the minimum Vessel DSCPI of 1. Overall, GeoAreas in the Americas had lower Vessel DSCPIs compared to the global average, similar to the vessel diversity of Oceania.

Other types of vessels were found across the Americas, including ferries and transport vessels, dive vessels, container ships, tug, tankers, carriers, and reefers.

7.4 Vessel Access: Survey Results

What kinds of vessels do you have access to for deep-sea work? (Q12/13)
Respondents were asked to select all types of vessels to which they had access for deep-sea work from a list of the following options: research vessels, fishing vessels, cruise ships, recreational vessels, traditional vessels, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a type of vessel to which they had access was not an option.

The most accessible vessels in the Americas were research vessels (available to 51% of respondents), followed by fishing vessels (available to 31%) (Figure 16A). Thirty-one respondents for the Americas (24%) reported not having access to vessels.

Figure 16

Vessels: Access
(A)
Percent of respondents for each subregion of the Americas with access to each type of vessel: research vessels, fishing vessels, recreational vessels (Rec), traditional vessels (Trad), cruise ships (Cruise), other, or none of the above. (B) Number of subregions of the Americas with each Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). High Vessel DSCAIs indicate higher respondent-reported access to vessels in their GeoArea.


In Northern America and South America, research vessels were the most accessible types of vessel, while fishing vessels were the most accessible in Central America and the Caribbean. 

The Vessel Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (Vessel DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of vessels in each subregion; higher values indicate higher access to more types of vessels. Respondents for the Americas had low to very low access to many vessel types, with Vessel DSCAIs of 1 or 2 (Figure 16B). While DSCAI values for the Americas were low, they were comparable to many other subregions worldwide. Respondents for Northern America had some of the highest access to research vessels in the world.

Other types of vessels noted by respondents for the Americas included navy and coast guard vessels, dive operator vessels, foreign/international research vessels, and oil and gas industry vessels. 

7.5 Vessel Satisfaction

How well do the vessels meet your needs? (Q14)
Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with vessels in their GeoArea in terms of cost, availability, capabilities, size, and duration, each on a five-point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Out of 128 total respondents for the Americas, 107-110 answered these questions (84-86% response rate). 

In the Americas, 30-52% of respondents were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with all aspects of vessel operations (Figure 17).

Figure 17

Vessels: Satisfaction
Number of respondents for each subregion of the Americas who are satisfied (green) or dissatisfied (blue) with all aspects of vessels available to them in their GeoArea (A). Number of respondents for each subregion who are satisfied (green) to dissatisfied (blue) with each of the aspects of vessel operation: Cost (B), Availability (C), Capabilities (D), Size (E), and Duration (F).

Figure 18

Vessels: Satisfaction
Number of subregions of the Americas with each Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). High Vessel DSCSIs indicate high respondent-reported satisfaction with the vessels to which they have access.

The Vessel Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (Vessel DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with vessels based on several factors, including cost, availability, and capabilities in each subregion; higher values indicate more overall satisfaction with vessels to which respondents had access. Vessel DSCSIs in the Americas ranged from very low (1) in South America to high (4) in Northern America (Figure 18). While subregions in Latin America & the Caribbean had low Vessel DSCSIs, they were equal to most other subregions in the world.

Additional factors that had an impact on how well vessels in their GeoArea met their needs included lack of facilities for docking space, safe harbor and haul-out, lack of suitable vessels for offshore work, lack of long-term resources for maintenance of vessels and equipment, reliance on international or navy collaborations for offshore work, and inconsistent funding.

7.6 Potential Impact of Increased Vessel Access

What is the potential impact of increased access to vessels? (Q15)
Respondents were asked what impact increased access to vessels would have on their work on a five-point scale from no impact to transformative.

Figure 19

Vessels: Potential Impact
Number of respondents for each subregion of the Americas who said that increased access to vessels would have a high or transformative impact (green) or little to no impact (blue) on their work.

Overall, 70% of respondents for the Americas reported that increased access to vessels would have a high impact or would be transformative (Figure 19).

Respondents for South America were the most optimistic about the potential impact, with 81% assessing high/transformative impact. Respondents for Northern America and the Caribbean rated potential impact at 71% high/transformative. In Central America, 50% replied that increased vessel access would result in a transformative impact, while 18% said there would be little to no impact on their work with increased access to vessels.

"Costa Rica does not have research vessels. We depend on international collaboration, but many times, scientists from the first world come, do their sampling and leave without informing us." --Respondent for Central America


8. Deep Submergence Vehicles

8.1 Highlights

  • Importance | 62% of respondents for the Americas considered DSVs important for their work.

  • Presence | ROVs were the most present type of DSV, followed by benthic landers and HOVs. Towsleds were the least common type of DSV found in the Americas.

  • Access | The most accessible types of DSVs in the Americas were ROVs, benthic landers, and AUVs. Just under half of respondents for the Americas, the majority of whom were from Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, reported having no access to any DSVs.

  • Depth Rating | 83% of DSVs to which respondents had access could operate deeper than 200 mbsl. Respondents for Northern America had the most access to the deepest vehicles.

  • Satisfaction | Respondents for the Americas were generally split in opinion on the performance of available DSVs. They were most satisfied with DSV duration, split in opinion on DSV capabilities and depth rating, and least satisfied with DSV availability and cost.

  • Potential Impact | 73% of respondents for the Americas reported that increased access to DSVs would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work. 

8.2 DSV Importance

How important are deep submergence vehicles (DSVs) for your work? (Q17)
Respondents were asked how important DSVs were for their work on a five-point scale from not important to very important.

Figure 20

DSVs: Importance
Number of survey respondents for each subregion of the Americas who considered DSVs very important or important (green) to little or not important (blue) for their work.

Overall, 62% of respondents for the Americas considered DSVs important or very important for their work (Figure 20). 

In Northern America, 82% of respondents considered DSVs important for their work, as well as 64% of respondents for Central America and 59% of respondents for South America. In the Caribbean, only 45% of respondents considered DSVs a little or not important for their work. Overall, 29 respondents for all of the Americas (23%) considered DSVs a little or not important for their work.

8.3 DSV Presence: Research Results

What types of DSVs are present in each GeoArea? (Q18R)
We researched the types of DSVs present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea had remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), human-occupied vehicles (HOVs), benthic landers, drifters, or towsleds. We recorded the presence or absence of each type of DSV, with presence meaning that at least one vehicle of a given type was present in the GeoArea.

ROVs were the most common DSVs found in the Americas, present in 22 GeoAreas (40%), followed by benthic landers and HOVs in 15 GeoAreas (27%). Towsleds were the least common, found in five GeoAreas (9%) (Figure 21A). 

Figure 21

DSVs: Presence
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each subregion of the Americas in which each type of DSV was found through research: remotely operated vehicles (ROV), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), benthic landers (Lander), drifters, towsleds, and human-occupied vehicles (HOV). (B) Number of GeoAreas in the Americas with each DSV Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSV DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of DSV types present in each GeoArea.


Two GeoAreas, Canada and the United States, had all types of DSVs; we found none in GeoAreas. Our research revealed that foreign capacities had provided about 15 DSVs of different types, allowing for deep water exploration in these GeoAreas. Still, these GeoAreas cannot conduct this research themselves. We also note that about ten benthic landers and ten other DSVs in the region were limited to functioning in shallow waters. 

The most common DSVs varied among different subregions. In Northern America, AUVs, drifters, HOVs, and ROVs were found in three of the five GeoAreas. In Central America, ROVs and HOVs were the most common but only found in two GeoAreas (25%). HOVs were the most present in the Caribbean, found in 10 GeoAreas (33%). In South America, ROVs were the most common DSVs found in eight GeoAreas (67%). 

The DSV Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (DSV DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of DSVs in each GeoArea; higher values indicate higher diversity of DSV types present in each GeoArea. Using the DSV DSCPI, we found that the presence of DSV types in the Americas ranged from very low (1) to very high (5) (Figure 21B). Only two GeoAreas (4%), the United States and Canada in Northern America, had the maximum DSV DSCPI of 5 (i.e., many types of DSVs were present). On the other hand, thirty-seven GeoAreas, mainly in Latin America & the Caribbean, had the minimum DSV DSCPI of 1. Overall, GeoAreas in the Americas had lower DSV DSCPIs compared to the global average, similar to the distribution of Africa.

8.4 DSV Access: Survey Results

What kinds of DSVs do you have access to for deep-sea work? (Q18)
Respondents were asked to select all types of DSVs to which they had access for deep-sea work from a list of the following options: remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), human-occupied vehicles (HOVs), benthic landers, drifters, towsled, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a type of DSV to which they had access was not an option.

The most accessible types of DSVs in the Americas were ROVs (41% of all respondents), benthic landers (29%), and AUVs (28%) (Figure 22A). Fifty-two respondents for the Americas (41%) reported having no access to any DSVs.

Figure 22

DSVs: Access
(A)
Percent of respondents for each subregion of the Americas with access to each type of DSV: remotely operated vehicles (ROV), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), benthic landers (Lander), drifters, towsleds, and human-occupied vehicles (HOV), other, and none of the above. (B) Number of subregions with each DSV Deep-Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSV DSCAIs indicate higher respondent-reported access to DSVs in their GeoArea.


ROVs were the most accessible DSVs in all subregions of the Americas except Central America. Nearly one-quarter of respondents there had access to HOVs, but half reported having no access to DSVs. 

The DSV Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (DSV DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of DSVs in each subregion; higher values indicated higher access to more types of DSVs. There was a wide distribution of access to DSVs in the Americas. With a DSV DSCAI of 4, Northern America had high access to more types of DSVs, among the highest in the world (Figure 22B). On the other end of the spectrum, all of the subregions of Latin America & the Caribbean had DSV DSCAIs of 1, indicating the lowest level of access to DSVs, comparable to many subregions of Africa, Oceania, and Asia.

Several respondents noted the importance of international partnerships for access to DSVs since they do not exist in their GeoAreas.

What is the approximate depth range of DSVs in your GeoArea? (Q19)
Respondents were asked to select the approximate depth range of the DSVs to which they had access from a list of the following options: 0-200 m, 0-1,000 m, 0-2,000 m, 0-4,000 m, >4,000 m, or not applicable.

Sixty-nine respondents reported on the depth capabilities of 225 vehicles, 83% of which could operate in waters deeper than 200 m (Figure 23). 

Figure 23

DSVs: Depth Rating
Number of deep submergence vehicles to which respondents for the Americas reported access, shown by subregion (A) and depth zone (B). Selection counts include all types of DSVs to which respondents reported access: ROVS, AUVs, landers, drifters, towsleds, and HOVs.


Respondents for Northern America had the most access to the deepest vehicles, with 27 reporting access to vehicles that can operate deeper than 4,000 mbsl. One respondent in Puerto Rico (Caribbean) and one in Chile (South America) reported access to a benthic lander that could operate deeper than 4,000 mbsl. Respondents in Costa Rica & Mexico (Central America) had access to vehicles that could operate to a maximum depth of 1,000 mbsl. 

8.5 DSV Satisfaction

How well do the DSVs meet your needs? (Q20)
Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with DSVs in their GeoArea in terms of cost, availability, capabilities, depth rating, and duration, each on a five-point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Out of 128 total respondents for the Americas, 63-68 answered these questions (49-53% response rate); the highest response rate was from Northern America (up to 92%), while the lowest was from the Caribbean (up to 29%). 

On average, 56% of respondents for Northern America and 19% of respondents for Latin America & the Caribbean  were satisfied or very satisfied with DSV operation in their GeoArea (Figure 24A). Respondents for the Americas were generally split in opinion on the performance of available DSVs; 38%, mainly in Northern America, were satisfied, while 48%, mostly in Latin America & the Caribbean, were dissatisfied. Overall, respondents for the Americas were most satisfied with DSV duration (52% satisfied or very satisfied); they were split in opinion on DSV capabilities and depth rating, and they were least satisfied with DSV availability and cost (55-59% dissatisfied or very dissatisfied) (Figure 24B-F).

Figure 24

DSVs: Satisfaction
Number of respondents for each subregion of the Americas who are satisfied (green) or dissatisfied (blue) with all aspects of DSVs available to them in their GeoArea (A). Number of respondents for each subregion who are satisfied (green) to dissatisfied (blue) with each of the aspects of DSV operation: Cost (B), Availability (C), Capabilities (D), Depth rating (E), and Duration (F).

Figure 25

DSVs: Satisfaction
Number of subregions of the Americas with each DSV Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSV DSCSIs indicate high respondent-reported satisfaction with the DSVs to which they have access.

The DSV Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (DSV DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with DSVs based on several factors, including cost, DSV, and capabilities in each subregion; higher values indicate more overall satisfaction with DSVs to which respondents had access. DSV DSCSIs in the Americas ranged from very low (1) in the Caribbean to high (4) in Northern America (Figure 25). While subregions in Latin America & the Caribbean had low DSV DSCSI values, they were similar to most other subregions in Africa, Oceania, and Asia.

Respondents noted factors that impacted how well DSVs in their GeoArea met their needs, including a lack of availability of vehicles and low availability of trained operators. 

8.6 Potential Impact of Increased Access to DSVs

What is the potential impact of increased access to DSVs in your GeoArea? (Q21)
Respondents were asked what impact increased access to DSVs would have on their work on a five-point scale from no impact to transformative.

Figure 26

DSVs: Potential Impact
Number of respondents for each subregion of the Americas who said that increased access to DSVs would have a high or transformative impact (green) or little to no impact (blue) on their work.

Overall, 73% of respondents for the Americas reported that increased access to DSVs would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work (Figure 26). 

Responses were consistently high across all subregions, with 89% of respondents for Northern America, 59% of respondents for Central America, 58% for the Caribbean, and 76% for South America reporting that increased access to DSVs would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work. Fifteen respondents across the Americas (12%) responded that there would be little to no impact with increased DSV access.

"While ship time is important, the advances recently have been in autonomous robots and remote sensing technology. Those are truly transformative for those who can't take 2 weeks aboard a ship (like for women with child care responsibilities)." --Respondent for the United States of America, Northern America


9. Sensor Systems

9.1 Highlights

  • Importance | 66% of respondents for the Americas consider deep-sea sensing systems important for their work.

  • Presence | Water sampling systems were the most present type of sensor, followed by navigation systems. eDNA systems were the least common type found in the Americas.

  • Access | The most accessible sensor systems in the Americas were CTDs, water sampling systems, and chemical sensors. More than one-third of the respondents for the Americas reported having no access to deep-sea sensor systems.

  • Satisfaction | Respondents for the Americas were split in opinion on the performance of deep-sea sensors in their GeoArea. Overall, they were satisfied or very satisfied with sensor system capabilities, cost, depth rating, and ease of use, and dissatisfied with availability.

  • Potential Impact | 68% of respondents for the Americas reported that increased access to deep-sea sensor systems would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work. 

9.2 Sensor System Importance

How important are deep-sea sensors for your work? (Q23)
Respondents were asked how important deep-sea sensors were for their work on a five-point scale from not important to very important.

Figure 27

Sensors: Importance
Number of survey respondents for each subregion of the Americas who considered sensors very important or important (green) to little or not important (blue) for their work.

On average, 66% of respondents for the Americas consider deep-sea sensing systems important to very important for their work (Figure 27). 

The majority of respondents in all subregions considered deep-sea sensors important to very important for their work; 84% of respondents for Northern America, 59% of respondents for Central America, 55% of respondents for the Caribbean, and 60% for South America. Overall, twenty respondents for the Americas (16%) considered deep-sea sensors of little importance or not important for their work.

9.3 Sensor System Presence: Research Results

What types of deep-sea sensor systems are present in each GeoArea? (Q24R)
We researched the types of sensor systems present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea had CTDs, chemical sensors (e.g. O2, pH, eH), water sampling systems, navigation systems, seafloor mapping systems, or imaging systems. We recorded the presence or absence of each type of sensor system, with presence meaning that at least one sensor system of a given type was present in the GeoArea.

Water sampling systems were the most common type of sensor system found in the Americas, present in 34 GeoAreas (62%), followed by navigation systems in 32 GeoAreas (58%). eDNA systems were the least common type, found in 17 GeoAreas (31%) (Figure 28A). 

Figure 28

Sensors: Presence
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each subregion of the Americas in which each type of sensor system was found through research: CTDs, water sampling systems (Water), chemical sensors (Chem), seafloor mapping systems (Map), imaging systems (Image), navigation systems (Nav), and environmental DNA sensors (eDNA). (B) Number of GeoAreas in the Americas with each Sensor Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). High Sensor DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of sensor types present in each GeoArea.


Seven GeoAreas (13%), found across the Americas except in the Caribbean, had all types of sensor systems. Twenty-three GeoAreas (42%) had fewer than three different types of sensors, and seven of them (13%), found in the Caribbean and South America, our research located no sensor systems at all. However, we note that territories like French Guiana, and to a lesser extent Guadeloupe, can explore their waters using external resources from foreign countries while not having in-country sensor capacity.

In Northern America, the most common sensors—CTDs, imaging, navigation, and chemical sensor systems—were found in four of the five GeoAreas (80%). Water sampling systems were present in all GeoAreas in Central America and were the most commonly found sensor system in the Caribbean. In South America, we found imaging and navigation systems in nine of the 12 GeoAreas (75%). 

The Sensor Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Sensor DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of sensors in each GeoArea; higher values indicated higher diversity of sensor types present in each GeoArea. Sensor DSCPIs in the Americas ranged from very low (1) to very high (5) (Figure 28B), similar to most regions worldwide. Thirteen GeoAreas (24%) had the maximum Sensor DSCPI of 5 (i.e., many types of sensor systems were present), and sixteen GeoAreas (29%) had the minimum Sensor DSCPI of 1. Northern America and South America had the highest fraction of GeoAreas with a Sensor DSCPI of 5. The Caribbean had the lowest DSV diversity with the lowest percentage of GeoAreas with a DSV DSCPI of 5 (33%) and the highest percentage with a DSV DSCPI of 1 (37%). 

9.4 Sensor System Access: Survey Results

What kinds of deep-sea sensors do you have access to for deep-sea work? (Q24)
Respondents were asked to select all types of sensor systems to which they had access for deep-sea work from a list of the following options: CTDs, chemical sensors (e.g., O2, pH, eH), imaging systems, water sampling, navigation, seafloor mapping, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a type of sensor system to which they had access was not an option.

The most accessible sensor systems in the Americas were CTDs and water sampling systems (each available to 52% of respondents), and chemical sensors (available to 50%) (Figure 29A). Forty-five respondents for the Americas (35%) reported having no access to deep-sea sensor systems.

Figure 29

Sensors: Access
(A)
Percent of respondents for each subregion of the Americas with access to each type of sensor system: CTDs, water sampling systems (Water), chemical sensors (Chem), seafloor mapping systems (Map), imaging systems (Image), navigation systems (Nav), and environmental DNA sensors (eDNA), other, and none of the above. (B) Number of subregions in the Americas with each Sensor Deep-Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). High Sensor DSCAIs indicate higher respondent-reported access to sensor systems in their GeoArea.


In Northern America, CTDs were the most accessible sensor system. Water sampling systems were the most accessible sensor systems in Central America and South America. In The Caribbean, respondents had the most access to water sampling systems and chemical sensors. 

The Sensor Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (Sensor DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of sensors in each subregion; higher values indicate higher access to more types of sensors. There was a wide distribution of access to sensor systems in the Americas. With a Sensor DSCAI of 5, Northern America had high access, among the highest in the world (Figure 29B). On the other hand, all the subregions of Latin America & the Caribbean had Sensor DSCAIs of 2, indicating low access to sensor systems, comparable to many subregions of Africa and Oceania.

9.5 Sensor System Satisfaction

How well do deep-sea sensors meet your needs? (Q25)
Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with deep-sea sensor systems in their GeoArea in terms of cost, availability, capabilities, depth rating, ease of use, and accuracy, each on a five-point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Out of 128 total respondents for the Americas, 76-79 answered these questions (59-62% response rate). 

On average, 59% of respondents for Northern America and 30% of respondents for Latin America & the Caribbean were satisfied or very satisfied with sensor operation in their GeoArea (Figure 30A). Respondents for the Americas were split in opinion on the performance of deep-sea sensors in their GeoArea, with 43% satisfied and 32% dissatisfied. In the Americas, 38-47% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with sensor system capabilities, cost, depth rating, and ease of use (Figure 30B, D-G). They were dissatisfied with availability (46% dissatisfied) (Figure 30C). 

Figure 30

Sensors: Satisfaction
Number of respondents for each subregion of the Americas who are satisfied (green) or dissatisfied (blue) with all aspects of sensors available to them in their GeoArea (A). Number of respondents for each subregion of the Americas who are satisfied (green) to dissatisfied (blue) with each of the aspects of sensor operation: Cost (B), Availability (C), Capabilities (D), Depth rating (E), Ease of Use (F), and Accuracy (G).

Figure 31

Sensors: Satisfaction
Number of subregions in the Americas with each Sensor Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). High Sensor DSCSIs indicate high respondent-reported satisfaction with the sensor systems to which they have access.

The Sensor Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (Sensor DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with sensors based on several factors, including cost, availability, and capabilities in each subregion; higher values indicate more overall satisfaction with sensors to which respondents had access. Respondent satisfaction with sensor systems in the Americas ranged from very low (1) in the Caribbean to high (4) in Northern America (Figure 31). While Central and South America had low to moderate Sensor DSCSI of 2-3, they were similar to Sensor DSCSI ratings in Asia, Africa, and Oceania.

Respondents noted factors that impacted how well deep-sea sensors in their GeoArea met their needs, including the acquisition and import of parts, technical training, instrument maintenance and repair, calibration, and internal bureaucracy.

9.6 Potential Impact of Increased Access to Sensors

What is the potential impact of increased access to deep-sea sensors? (Q26)
Respondents were asked what impact increased access to deep-sea sensors would have on their work on a five-point scale from no impact to transformative.

Figure 32

Sensors: Potential Impact
Number of respondents for each subregion of the Americas who said that increased access to sensor systems would have a high or transformative impact (green) or little to no impact (blue) on their work.

Overall, 68% of respondents for the Americas reported that increased access to deep-sea sensor systems would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work (Figure 32).

Responses were consistently high across all subregions, with 68% of respondents for Northern America, 55% for Central America, 65% for the Caribbean, and 78% for South America reporting that increased access would result in a transformative impact. Thirteen respondents across the Americas (10%) reported that there would be little to no impact with increased access to deep-sea sensor systems.

10. Data Tools

10.1 Highlights

  • Importance | 90% of respondents for the Americas reported data tools important to very important for their work.

  • Presence | Geographic information systems (GIS) were the most present type of data tool, followed by data management systems. Genomic sequencing tools were the least common type found in the Americas.

  • Access | The most accessible data tool in the Americas was GIS, followed by data storage capacity and data visualization tools. Only 15% of respondents for the Americas reported having no access to any of the listed data tools. 

  • Satisfaction | Respondents for the Americas were split in opinion on the performance of data tools in their GeoArea. Respondents for Northern America were the most satisfied with data tools in their GeoArea, while respondents for South America were the least satisfied.

  • Potential Impact | 80% of respondents for the Americas reported that increased access to data tools would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work. 

10.2 Data Tools Importance

How important are data analysis & access tools for your work? (Q28)
Respondents were asked how important data tools were for their work on a five-point scale from not important to very important.

Figure 33

Data Tools: Importance
Number of survey respondents for each subregion of the Americas who considered data tools very important or important (green) to little or not important (blue) for their work.

On average, 90% of respondents for the Americas reported data tools important to very important for their work (Figure 33).

The majority of respondents in all subregions considered data tools important to very important for their work: 95% of respondents for Northern America, 91% of respondents for Central America, 90% for the Caribbean, and 84% of respondents for South America. Four respondents for the Americas (3%) considered data tools a little or not important for their work.

10.3 Data Tools Presence: Research Results

What type of data analysis & access tools are present in each GeoArea? (Q29R)
We researched the types of data tools present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea had geographic information systems (GIS), data management tools, data storage capacity, data visualization tools, machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI), cloud computing, and/or genomic sequencing tools. We recorded the presence or absence of each type of data tool, with presence meaning that at least one data tool of a given type was present in the GeoArea.

GIS systems were the most common type of data tools in the Americas, found in 44 GeoAreas (80%), followed by data management systems present in 42 GeoAreas (76%). Genomic sequencing tools were the least present, found in 20 GeoAreas (36%) (Figure 34A). 

Figure 34

Data Tools: Presence
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each subregion of the Americas in which each type of data tool was found through research: GIS, data management tools (Mgt), data storage tools (Storage), data visualization tools (Viz), cloud computing (Cloud), genomic sequencing (Genome), and machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI). (B) Number of GeoAreas in the Americas with each Data Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). High Data DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of data tool types present in each GeoArea.


Twelve GeoAreas (22%), distributed across the Americas but mainly in Northern and Southern Americas, had all types of data tools. Eighteen GeoAreas had fewer than three types of data tools, including French Guiana, Saint-Lucia, and Puerto Rico, in which we found none. Territories like French Guiana, and to a lesser extent Guadeloupe, had a significant amount of foreign data tool capacities.

GIS was the most common data tool in Northern and South America. In Central America, data management and GIS tools were the most commonly found, and data management was also the most common data tool in the Caribbean. 

The Data Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Data DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of data tools in each GeoArea; higher values indicated higher diversity of data tool types present in each GeoArea. Data tool diversity in the Americas varied from very low (1) to very high (5) (Figure 34B), similar to most regions worldwide, particularly Africa and Oceania. Fifteen GeoAreas (27%) had the maximum Data DSCPI of 5 (i.e., many types of data tools were present), and seven GeoAreas in the Americas (13%) had the minimum Data DSCPI of 1. 

10.4 Data Tools Access: Survey Results

What kinds of data analysis & access tools do you have access to? (Q29)
Respondents were asked to select all types of data tools to which they had access for deep-sea work from a list of the following options: cloud computing, data management tools, data storage capacity, data visualization tools, genomic sequencing, geographic information systems (GIS), machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI), or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a type of data tool to which they had access was not an option.

The most accessible data tools in the Americas were GIS (available to 81% of respondents), followed by data storage capacity (63%), and data visualization tools (62%) (Figure 35A). Nineteen respondents for the Americas (15%) reported having no access to any of the listed data tools or did not know what data tools were available to them.

Figure 35

Data Tools: Access
(A)
Percent of respondents for each subregion of the Americas with access to each type of data tool: GIS, data management tools (Mgt), data storage tools (Storage), data visualization tools (Viz), cloud computing (Cloud), genomic sequencing (Genome), machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI), other, and none of the above. (B) Number of subregions in the Americas with each Data Deep-Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). High Data DSCAIs indicate higher respondent-reported access to data tools in their GeoArea.


In Northern America, respondents had the most access to data management tools, data storage capacity, and data visualization tools. GIS was the most accessible tool for respondents in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. 

The Data Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (Data DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of data tools in each subregion; higher values indicate higher access to more types of data tools. In the Americas, Data DSCAIs ranged from moderate (3) to very high (5) (Figure 35B). With a Data DSCAI of 5, respondents for Northern America had the most access to data tools in the region and more access than most subregions globally. The Latin America & Caribbean subregions had Data DSCAIs of 3, indicating moderate access to data tools compared to other deep-sea capacities and comparable to many other subregions worldwide. 

Respondents also noted that they had access to data annotation tools, image and video mosaic building, and remote sensing. 

10.5 Data Tools Satisfaction

How well do data analysis & access tools meet your needs? (Q30)
Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with data tools in their GeoArea in terms of cost, availability, capabilities, ease of use, and bandwidth, each on a five-point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Out of 128 respondents for the Americas, 110-113 answered these questions (86-88% response rate). 

On average, 59% of respondents for Northern America and 29% of respondents for Latin America & the Caribbean were satisfied or very satisfied with data tools in their GeoArea (Figure 36A). Respondents for the Americas were split in opinion on the performance of data tools in their GeoArea. Overall, 39% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with all assessed data tool factors, while 38% were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied (Figure 36B-F). 

Figure 36

Data Tools: Satisfaction
Number of respondents for each subregion of the Americas who are satisfied (green) or dissatisfied (blue) with all aspects of data tools available to them in their GeoArea (A). Number of respondents for each subregion of the Americas who are satisfied (green) to dissatisfied (blue) with each of the aspects of data tool operation: Cost (B), Availability (C), Capabilities (D), Ease of Use (E), and Bandwidth (F).

Figure 37

Data Tools: Satisfaction
Number of subregions in the Americas with each Data Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (blues/greens), compared to all other regions (grey). High Data DSCSIs indicate high respondent-reported satisfaction with the data tools to which they have access.

The Data Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (Data DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with data tools based on several factors, including data cost, availability, and capabilities in each subregion; higher values indicate more overall satisfaction with data tools to which respondents had access. Respondent satisfaction with data tools in the Americas ranged from very low (1) to moderate (3) (Figure 37). Northern America had the highest Data DSCSI in the Americas (3), ranking moderate to high compared to other subregions globally. South America and the Caribbean had the lowest Data DSCSI in the Americas, similar to Polynesia and most subregions of Africa.

Respondents also noted the need for funding and partnerships to create high-standard data systems to benefit society and create jobs for young people, the need to strengthen the capacity to analyze data so it can be used for conservation and management efforts, and user-friendly, open-access tools for data analysis. A respondent from Cuba noted that some tools were blocked “as part of the U.S. embargo.”

10.6 Potential Impact of Increased Access to Data Tools

What is the potential impact of increased access to data analysis & access tools in your GeoArea? (Q31)
Respondents were asked what impact increased access to data tools would have on their work on a five-point scale from no impact to transformative.

Figure 38

Data Tools: Potential Impact
Number of respondents for each subregion of the Americas who said that increased access to data tools would have a high or transformative impact (green) or little to no impact (blue) on their work.

Overall, 80% of respondents for the Americas reported that increased access to data tools would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work (Figure 38).

Responses were consistently high across all subregions, with 79% of respondents for Northern America, 77% of respondents for Central America, 77% of respondents for the Caribbean, and 86% of respondents for South America reporting that increased access would result in high or transformative impact. Six respondents across the Americas (5%) reported that there would be little to no impact on their work with increased access to data tools.

"Software seems to be doing a subscription style purchase plan these days - and that's really hard to sustain in the long term. Much easier to win a grant, buy the software, and then be able to use it in perpetuity (even if outdated). It's so frustrating to be cut off from something you use a lot because you had a flop year in money-winning." --Respondent for the United States of America, Northern America

Comments
0
comment

No comments here

Why not start the discussion?