NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration & Research (OER) seeks to enhance ocean exploration and scientific knowledge of the unknown or poorly known areas of the ocean. This entails identifying, describing and creating baseline characterizations of new ocean habitats, marine resources and/or processes. In this Announcement, OER is seeking proposals focused on four themes: 1. Exploration of physical, chemical and biological environments and processes within the oceanic water column below ~200m; 2. Exploration of geological, physical, and biological environments as well as biogeochemical processes associated with seamounts; 3. Novel or innovative technologies and methodologies that could increase the pace and scope of ocean exploration, especially exploration of the water column, seamounts, and archaeological sites; and 4. Proposals focused on the discovery and exploration of historically significant submerged marine heritage sites, features and artifacts associated with WWII. Proposals that combine more than one of these exploration themes are encouraged. OER’s overarching objective is to investigate and document poorly known and unknown ocean areas through interdisciplinary exploration, and to advance and disseminate knowledge of the ocean’s physical, geological, chemical, biological, and archaeological environments. Findings from projects and expeditions are anticipated to result in new baseline characterizations; provide better scientific understanding of the processes on U.S. continental margins and the deep ocean; offer new insights into climate variability and marine ecosystems; reveal new or unconventional energy, mineral, biological, and archaeological resources; help identify hazards resulting from extreme events such as submarine volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis; and deliver technology advancements (platforms, sensors, methodologies, etc.) that will increase observational capabilities in the ocean. OER is interested in characterization of seamounts located within regions of the U.S. EEZ or ECS, including the Gulf of Alaska, the NW Atlantic, and the deep regions of Marine Protected Areas. Characterization of physical, chemical, and biological ocean environments associated with seamounts in areas where ocean mining may occur (e.g., regions along the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture) is also of particular interest. OER may also consider proposals focused on other areas that are relevant to OER’s and NOAA’s missions and priorities that would include significant leveraged resources. Archaeology proposals are not restricted to any depth or geographic area.