Visually magnificent and biologically significant, ocean-floor hydrothermal vents were completely unknown to scientists until 1977. Today oceanographers are still working to understand the ecosystems around live and inactive vents, and the implications for deep-ocean science and ocean exploration policy. To get those answers, an expedition funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) is sailing next week, led by cruise Chief Scientist Dr. Jason B. Sylvan, assistant professor in the Department of Oceanography in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. The science team will study vents on the East Pacific Rise using Alvin, a three-person human occupied vehicle (HOV) submarine. BBC-One will also be on board and broadcasting live from the first leg of the expedition. BBC-One’s Blue Planet Live program aired footage from the R/V Atlantis on March 27 and March 28, and that footage will be available (in the UK) online.