Read blog posts or news updates from our staff, educators, watchstanders, and scientists.
Over the course of July, we looked at multiple wrecks and many geological structures. The main reoccurring organism we saw was the Venus Flytrap Anemone. This organism resembles and acts like a venus flytrap. The anemone will close is tentacles in on its prey to eat it just like the plant does. It also performs this motion when it feels threatened.
The flytrap anemone is commonly found at great depths and is known as a deep sea anemone. The anemone can be found in depths of 1,000 to 5,000 meters. While in the Gulf of Mexico, the E/V Nautilus found many of these creatues on shipwrecks. These wrecks provide a constant substrate for the anemones. Anemones require hard substrates to attach to. These substrates can be rocks, hard sediment, as well as man made structures. The place where they attach to becomes their home. It is crucial that the anemone is facing the current because it is a passive eater and will only eat if something comes to it.
If you're interested in marine policy, check out the CHOW 2014 live streams this week on OceansLIVE.org!
This month’s species is a highlight from one of the more uncommon discoveries aboard the E/V Nautilus. Goosefish, which are sometimes referred to as monkfish, or Lophius americanus, are commonly found in the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean, with similar species occurring all over the world. However, this particular dive yielded an encounter with a far more elusive and largely unobserved species of goosefish.
Sladenia shaefersi, sometimes referred to as Schaefer's Anglerfish or the deep-water goosefish, is also a member of the angler family, and is recognizable by its bulbous brown body and the intricate patterning covering its back. In the featured video, you will be able to see how the patterning actually shimmers in the ROV lights, bearing an uncanny resemblance to mother of pearl.
The deep-sea goosefish can grow up to 28 inches, and is capable of inhabiting depths up to 1200 meters. Although not visible in this particular segment, Schaefer’s Anglerfish earns its namesake with a ‘beard’ of filliform illicia protruding from its jaw. To date we know very little about the nature of Schaefer's Anglerfish, as less than ten have ever been captured, making this an incredibly rare moment in E/V Nautilus History.
Last Saturday, May 10th, the deep sea exploration community lost one of their most valued assets: the Nereus ROV. As part of a series of deep sea research dives, ROV Nereus was working with the R/V Thomas G. Thompson to explore the Kermadec Trench, the fifth deepest in the world. Just north of New Zealand, the Kermadec trench extends to 10,047 meters, just shy of the Nereus ROV's 11,000 meter rating. After losing contact with the ROV at the bottom of the Kermadec, scientists and technicians aboard the Thompson waited for the ascent fail-safe mechanisms to trigger, and for the ROV to resurface. At the five hour mark, when Nereus should have been ready for recovery, operators aboard the Thompson spotted debris floating in the water: the remnants of the Nereus ROV's flotation system. As many had feared, this spelled doom for ROV Nereus , and indicated an implosion event which, at nearly six miles under the surface, would have yielded a force near that of dynamite.
This is the first installment of a new series called wreck-ollections, wherein we will look back at shipwreck dives from years past. Here at the ISC, we have access to more than a decade's worth of underwater footage, as well as a few resident shipwreck experts, and so we found it fitting to use our resources to bring these fascinating historic relics to you. Enjoy the following article on the Monterey Shipwrecks, and keep an eye out for future installments!
The first cruise of the season was a resounding success!
On April 10th the Okeanos Explorer set out to further explore some interesting locations identified in Legs 1 & 2 earlier this season. With the goal of exploring the diversity and distribution of deep seafloor habitats the ship conducted 16 dives in 20 days sending the ROV to the ocean floor, up to 2900m deep!
We were lucky enough to gather some impressive images and video from their trip. Check it out!
As one of the most frequently observed species here at the Inner Space Center, Holothurians represent a diverse and important part of deep water ecosystems. Often found in high densities, Holothurians are true generalists, and have been observed in a wide variety of habitats including the hadal zone. With a genus comprised of over one thousand species, there has been a plethora of genetic and phenotypic variation observed, including six species which have forsaken their benthic ancestry for that of a partially-pelagic existence.
Today's Okeanos Explorer ROV dive brings us to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, in an area the science team has dubbed NW Gulf Deep Near Border.
The purpose of the dive is to use the remotely operated vehicle's camera to observe and record the seafloor in this unknown area. The science team hopes to discover communities of corals, as well as any communities of animals that survive on geothermal vents. Scientists have predictive models regarding the population density of corals in this area, which lies 2800 meters below sea level, but to validate these models, the ROV is absolutely necessary.
So far today, the team has found a variety of deep sea animals including a very camera-friendly fish (pictured above) who curiously came within a few inches of the ROV.
As always, be sure to follow along live with the science team on our Okeanos LIVE page.
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer is diving their top-of-the-line ROV, Deep Discoverer or D2, into the depths of the Gulf of Mexico. Go to our Okeanos Live page under Video Streams to watch, listen and explore. Dives for this leg will take place roughly between 9:00am and 5:00pm Central Time.