The R/V Chapman (formerly NOAAS Chapman) was originally an American fisheries research vessel sailing in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fleet from 1980-1988. Under the direction of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) she spent her early years on the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean surveying king crab populations. In the mid-1980s she supported the work of NMFS's Southeast Fisheries Science Center working throughout the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and western Atlantic Ocean collecting physical oceanographic measurements and data on fishery potential of varying stocks. Chapman later used pioneering technology for fishery acoustics and non-destructive reef surveying using stationary video cameras deployed on reefs. Chapman was decommissioned in 1998 but was donated to the University of Puerto Rico. There she continued to support scientific marine research sailing as R/V Chapman for six years. However, after years of minimal use she was taken out of service.
Substation Curaçao purchased R/V Chapman in 2008 and after extensive refurbishment is now a mothership for the deep-diving submersible Curasub. Outfitted with a 110-ton knuckle boom crane, she can launch and retrieve the 6-ton Curasub and floating launch platform. With wet and dry laboratories, R/V Chapman has embarked on several scientific expeditions to Bonaire (2013 & 2017), Dominica (2016), St. Eustatius & Saba (2017), Klein Curaçao, and multiple sites along Curaçao's coast.
Photography courtesy of Substation Curacao.
The Curasub (operated by Substation Curacao) is a five-person mini-submersible capable of descending to 1,000ft (300m). Equipped with a front 40" dome window, hydraulic manipulator arms, high definition cameras and collecting equipment, it is suitable for both tourism and scientific research.
To take a virtual tour of the Curasub, check out the interactive site created by our partners at the Smithsonian Institution: Virtual Sub Dive.
Sirenas dives deep into the ocean’s unstudied biodiversity to discover potent therapeutic molecules,
developing those findings into novel drugs for serious diseases.
The Tornabene Lab focuses on the systematics and evolution of bony fishes. This includes the discovery and formal description of new biodiversity, exploring the phylogenetic relationships between groups of fishes, and understanding how genotype, phenotype and ecology work in concert to produce the amazing diversity we observe in the aquatic world around us.
Institute for Marine Resources & Ecosystem Studies (IMARES) scientists conducted
a survey of the deep reefs of Bonaire in 2013 & 2017. Learn More.
STIMACUR, the foundation for Marine Archaeology Curaçao will be documenting and mapping
anchorage and marine archeological sites in Dominica in February and March of 2016.
Researchers from the Naturalis Biodiversity Center have participated in several expeditions with the R/V Chapman and Curasub. As a research institution, their scientists are interested in the diversity of deep reef ecosystems in the Dutch Caribbean.