The sanctuary conducts a variety of research and resource protection projects aimed at better understanding and protecting the unique maritime heritage sites within it. Increasingly, the sanctuary is facilitating research aimed at better understanding the natural aspects of Thunder Bay and northern Lake Huron.
Please Note: expeditions are currently being rescheduled due to repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic
Exploration and Outreach in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary - Sanctuaries Live: 2019 Ocean Exploration Trust Expedition: https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/science/nautilus19/
Sinkhole Research: Giant sinkholes are adding water to Lake Huron. Scientists ask: How much?
Lakebed Mapping - Ground Truthing: NCCOS, Partners Survey Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Lakebed
With Indiana University Center for Underwater Science - 3D Imaging for Rapid Assessment of Nearshore Shipwrecks
With NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research: Aviators Down
With NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research: Pushing the Boundaries: Technology-driven Exploration of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
With Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and East Carolina University's Program in Maritime Studies. Archaeological survey of the Northwestern, Cornelia B. Windiate, Kyle Spangler, and Defiance.
With NOAA's Collaborative Center for Unmanned Technologies - pilot training for Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Thunder Bay Island near shore shipwreck survey.
With 2G Robotics - 3D underwater laser scan imaging test: shipwreck Monohansett.
With U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: lake bottom substrate survey Six Fathom Bank, Lake Huron
With East Carolina University Program in Maritime Studies summer field school
Archaeological documentation of the Ogarita, William P. Rend, Montana, Barge No. 1, Portland, and Oscar T. Flint
With NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab - ReCON support for tower construction on Thunder Bay Island for Lake Huron monitoring.
With ECONcrete - support test station for product development: product promoting marine growth on seawalls, reducing the ecological footprint of marine infrastructure.
With Sony and Radical Media - Project Shiphunt: Discovery of the M.F. Merrick and Etruria
With National Geographic: Drain the Great Lakes - filming support and discovery of the shipwreck EgyptianWith the University of Michigan: Unlocking 10,000 Years of History: Ground Truthing Potential Archaeological sites along Lake Huron's Alpena-Amberley Ridge.
With NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research: Cutting Edge Technology & the Hunt for Lake Huron's Lost Ships
With the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research and Technology- exploring the shipwrecks Defiance and Audubon
Bringing History to the Surface: Live Broadcast from the wreck of the Montana. A NOAA Preserve America funded expedition.
With Monitor National Marine Sanctuary documentation of the Grecian
Nautical Archeology Society training course at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary with the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps and the Nobel Odyssey Foundation.
With NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research: Thunder Bay Sinkholes 2008
With University of Michigan and University of Rhode Island - sonar survey and discovery of the shipwreck Messenger.
With Stan Stock, discoverer of the Kyle Spangler shipwreck, and his dive partner Tracy Xelowski, and personnel from the National Undersea Research Center at UNC-Wilmington, NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab and NOAA's Office of Exploration and Research - documentation of the Kyle Spangler
With NOAA's National Geodetic Survey: Remote Sensing Division - LIDAR and high resolution photogrammetry, confirming locations of near-shore shipwrecks
With NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research: Exploring Thunder Bay's Historic Shipwrecks
With Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society supporting filming for PBS documentary series on the National Marine Sanctuary System.
With University of Rhode Island, documentation of North Point's Maritime Cultural Heritage
With East Carolina University's Program in Maritime Studies summer field school documentation of shipwrecks in the North Point Reef area.
With University of Michigan's Marine Hydrodynamics Laboratory, support for filming of the Cornelia B. Windiate for an episode of "Deep Sea Detectives" (the History Channel).
With East Carolina University's Program in Maritime Studies summer field school - archaeological documentation of the Monohansett
With Dr. Robert Ballard's Institute for Exploration (now the Ocean Exploration Trust): using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to film shipwrecks identified during remote sensing operations in 2001
With NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research Surveying "Shipwreck Alley" in Thunder Bay, Lake Huron