Okeanos: Exploring the depths

The National Oceanic and Atomospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Okeanos Explorer treated us to another live stream, lighting up the depths of the Phoenix Canyon on a research dive. The mission is to explore deep-sea ecosystems of the Atlantic Ocean, and equipped with HD cameras, the NOAA’s remote Deep Discoverer (D2) provides some incredible footage.

A hermit crab clings on to deep-sea coral.
A stunning red mastigoteuthis squid.

In the dark at over 1000m in depth, there is still a myriad of life. Crabs, corals, and cephalopods were in abundance. Viewers were able to get immersed in the dive and feel the excitement when something fascinating was spotted. One of the first finds of note was a Graneledone octopus, most likely a female brooding her eggs (a commitment that can last up to 4 years!).

Graneledone octopus.
Graneledone octopus.
Graneledone octopus brooding her eggs.

Various crabs and fish made appearances too, including chaceon and king crabs, and witch flounders – a flatfish well camouflaged against the sandy substrate.

Chaceon crab
Chaceon crab
King crab
King crab
Can you spot the flounder hidden in the image?!
Can you spot the flounder hidden in the image?!

Lucky viewers also witnessed predation in action, as a cutthroat eel attacked an unfortunate squid and clung on, finally disappearing into the cloud of disturbed sand with its prize.

Eel vs Squid
A cutthroat eel predates an unlucky squid…
Eel vs Squid
…and disappears with its meal.

Before the day’s mission wrapped up, one final treat was in store, as a nudibranch slowly cruised past a beautiful bobtail squid.

Nudi and Bobtail
Nudibranch and bobtail squid.

Nudi

The stream was a wonderful experience, educational and inspirational. With experts discussing the live video, viewers were able to witness and learn about some remarkable life on the deep ocean floor.

An estimated 95% of the world’s oceans still remain unexplored, and research from the Okeanos will be invaluable. Keep an eye on their adventures and future streams for more chances to see marine life at incredible depths!

http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/welcome.html

https://twitter.com/oceanexplorer

Note: All images are screen-grabs and all credit goes to the Okeanos Explorer team for the live streaming video from which they were captured.

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