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Deep-sea corals are not the only habitat formers on the seamounts in the Gulf of Alaska. On Welker Seamount, we discovered a sponge-dominated habitat with over 50% cover in some parts of the terrain.

Shortspine thornyhead and grenadier fish were common. Both of these species feed on small crustaceans, like these shrimp, which live on sponges 2,000 ft below the ocean’s surface.

This community of shrimp seems to be playing "King of the Hill," fighting for position around a small rock that somehow landed in this glass sponge -- one of a half-dozen species of glass sponge that G. P. Schmahl has documented so far.

 

Related Links

Gulf of Alaska 2004

Gulf of Alaska 2004: August 12 Log

NOAA Ocean Explorer Gallery