Exploring Atlantic Canyons & Seamounts





Just Look at the World Around You, Right Here on the Ocean Floor!

One of my favorite images from the entire cruise, during our dive at Gosnold Seamount, D2 descended on a seafloor densely populated with a diversity of deep sea corals and sponges.

One of my favorite images from the entire cruise, during our dive at Gosnold Seamount, D2 descended on a seafloor densely populated with a diversity of deep-sea corals and sponges. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Our Deepwater Backyard: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts. Download high-resolution version (1.1 Mb).

October 6, 2014

Kasey Cantwell
Web Coordinator
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

Although I was never really a Little Mermaid fan, I was particularly happy when “Under the Sea” came on my iPod this morning on the way to work. Over the last few weeks, I have been coordinating the web content for Our Deepwater Backyard, which has been really exciting as I have spent the month exploring the deep sea, seeing things that no one has ever seen before!

The hardest part of my job is when I have to decide on which pictures ultimately make their way onto our website. Is it the cute dumbo octopus, the potential new species of sea star, or the weird unidentified organism that stumped our scientists?

I also work with our science team to incorporate as many of my favorite images into their stories as possible. At the end of the day though, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Deep Discoverer’s incredible cameras and our fantastic team of videographers and ROV pilots often leave me with far too many pictures that may never make their way onto our website. That is where this log comes in—below you will find some of my favorite images that didn’t make it into daily updates or mission logs.

Sebastian definitely got something right: Life under the sea is better than anything they’ve got up there.

 


 

A Whiplash (Mastigoteuthis) squid waits in the water column while hunting in Phoenix Canyon.

A whiplash (Mastigoteuthis) squid waits in the water column while hunting in Phoenix Canyon. Click image for larger view and image credit.


ROV Deep Discoverer as seen in the camera lens of Camera Sled Seirios, as the vehicles leave the seafloor from our last dive of the 2014 field season.

ROV Deep Discoverer as seen in the camera lens of Camera Sled Seirios, as the vehicles leave the seafloor from our last dive of the 2014 field season. Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

 

In Phoenix Canyon we spotted a small juvenile king crab- maybe we can call him a prince crab?

In Phoenix Canyon, we spotted a small juvenile king crab—maybe we can call him a prince crab? Click image for larger view and image credit.


Even though they are rare, we were lucky enough to see dandelion siphonophores on three dives during this expedition.

Even though they are rare, we were lucky enough to see dandelion siphonophores on three dives during this expedition. Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

 

During our dive on the Atlantis II Seamount Complex, we caught a brief glimpse of a vampire squid.

During our dive on the Atlantis II Seamount Complex, we caught a brief glimpse of a vampire squid. Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

The diversity of deep sea corals and sponges on Gosnold Seamount made it my favorite dive! Here ROV Deep Discoverer documents several sponges, precious corals, and other octocorals on a steep outcrop during our transit upslope.

The diversity of deep-sea corals and sponges on Gosnold Seamount made the dive here my favorite! Here, ROV Deep Discoverer documents several sponges, precious corals, and other octocorals on a steep outcrop during our transit upslope. Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

 

A tiny squat lobster rests in a group of bivalves under a ledge in McMaster Canyon. For scale reference, these bivalves are each about the size of a fist.

A tiny squat lobster rests in a group of bivalves under a ledge in McMaster Canyon. For scale reference, these bivalves are each about the size of a fist. Click image for larger view and image credit.


Two hermit crabs on a small boulder on Retriever Seamount. This pair surprised our scientists as these crabs are usually solitary.

Two hermit crabs on a small boulder on Retriever Seamount. This pair surprised our scientists as these crabs are usually solitary. Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

 

A rarely document instance of sea star predation on bamboo coral.

A rarely documented instance of sea star predation on bamboo coral. Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

In the words of our Telepresence Team Lead, Aliens exist and they’re closer than you think! Sea cucumbers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but almost all of them look they could be extras in the next Men in Black movie.

In the words of our Telepresence Team Lead, "Aliens exist and they’re closer than you think!" Sea cucumbers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but almost all of them look they could be extras in the next Men in Black movie. Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

 

A polychaete worm resides on a pancake urchin.

A polychaete worm resides on a pancake urchin. Click image for larger view and image credit.


This chimaera swam by for a visit during our dive in Ryan Canyon.

This chimaera swam by for a visit during our dive in Ryan Canyon. Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

 

Throughout our dive on Retriever Seamount, we encountered several xenophyophores (giant unicellular organisms), many of which had brittle stars resting on top.

Throughout our dive on Retriever Seamount, we encountered several xenophyophores (giant unicellular organisms), many of which had brittle stars resting on top. Click image for larger view and image credit.


The area ROV Deep Discoverer surveyed on Retriever Seamount had a high diversity of sponged, including this one with several crinoids using the sponge to elevate their position in the water column.

The area ROV Deep Discoverer surveyed on Retriever Seamount had a high diversity of sponges, including this one with several crinoids using the sponge to elevate their position in the water column. Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

 

As we prepared to leave the seafloor at Physalia Seamount, ROV Deep Discoverer came across this photogenic octopus. What a great way to end a dive!

As we prepared to leave the seafloor at Physalia Seamount, ROV Deep Discoverer came across this photogenic octopus. What a great way to end a dive! Click image for larger view and image credit.


Although we saw several sea spiders during the expedition, this one feeding on a solitary hydroid was particularly exciting!

Although we saw several sea spiders during the expedition, this one feeding on a solitary hydroid was particularly exciting! Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

 

During the first ever exploration of Nantucket Canyon, we transited up a steep wall and discovered areas of dense populations of cup corals and brisingid sea stars.

During the first-ever exploration of Nantucket Canyon, we transited up a steep wall and discovered areas of dense populations of cup corals and brisingid sea stars. Click image for larger view and image credit.


Close up of a blue hake.

Close up of a blue hake. Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

 

 

One of the most beautiful deep sea corals, iridogorgia (a type of octocoral) creates large spirals as it grows. This coral was fairly common during our dives on the New England Seamounts.

One of the most beautiful deep-sea corals, iridogorgia (a type of octocoral), creates large spirals as it grows. This coral was fairly common during our dives on the New England Seamounts. Click image for larger view and image credit.


A rare sun star on Gosnold Seamount.

A rare sun star on Gosnold Seamount. Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

 

 

A king crab eats a pancake urchin in Ryan Canyon.

A king crab eats a pancake urchin in Ryan Canyon. Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

Nudibranchs on a large hydroid colony.  Nudibranchs are some of my favorite animals to see while scuba diving and these were my first deep sea nudibranchs!

Nudibranchs on a large hydroid colony. Nudibranchs are some of my favorite animals to see while scuba diving and these were my first deep-sea nudibranchs! Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

 

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