Baffa’s expedition explored the deep sea off the Southern California coast

Melissa was sure not to read the Breeze underwater while on the remotely operated vehicle Hercules.

Melissa Baffa served as a Lead Science Communication Fellow in August 2016 with the Ocean Exploration Trust. It was her second consecutive year sailing on Dr. Robert Ballard’s E/V Nautilus, helping to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) based research to the public.

As a part of Baffa’s expedition, members of the Corps of Exploration explored the deep sea off the coast of Southern California, including encounters with rare sea creatures and investigations of a series of seismic faults that pose a potential threat of earthquakes and tsunamis to Southern California.

Seventeen educators from around the world were selected from a competitive pool of applicants by the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET), founded by Dr. Robert Ballard, to serve as fellows during the 2016 Nautilus expedition.

Dr. Ballard is widely known for the discovery of the wreck of the RMS Titanic in 1985 and hydrothermal vents in 1977. He is also the visionary behind the concept of telepresence that makes Nautilus Live possible.

hile aboard the Nautilus, Baffa participated in live audio commentary and question-and-answer sessions through the Nautilus Live website ( and hosted live interactions with a variety of schools, museums, and aquariums around the world.

Back in her community, Baffa brought the excitement of deep sea exploration to the nearly 11,000 Girl Scouts belonging to Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast and to the community at large. Baffa, who recently joined the development department at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, will continue to deliver programs and speak with the public through the fall and winter.

Melissa Baffa is a former science educator and has led a varied career, with experience in formal and informal education, nonprofit management, and scientific research.

The Ocean Exploration Trust was founded in 2008 by Dr. Robert Ballard to explore the ocean, seeking out new discoveries in the fields of geology, biology, maritime history, and archaeology while pushing the boundaries of STEM education and technological innovation. Our international program is launched from aboard the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus, offering live exploration to participants on shore and the public via live video, audio, and data feeds. The major 2016 expedition and education sponsors are the NOAA Office of Exploration & Research, the Office of Naval Research, the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, the University of Rhode Island, CITGO, and additional private donors. Follow them online at, on Facebook and Instagram at NautilusLive, and on Twitter as @EVNautilus.


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