Gulf of Mexico 2017





Photo and Video Log

This page contains photos and videos associated with the Gulf of Mexico 2017 expedition. Click on any image to view a larger version and for additional information.

Unless otherwise noted, all images and videos are courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Gulf of Mexico 2017.

(HR) = "High Resolution" images available.

Dive Highlight Videos | Images (Daily Updates) | Images (Mission Logs) | Images (Background Essays)

 


Highlight Videos

The Deep Discoverer remotely operated vehicle gives scientists unprecedented access to the deep ocean.

Engineering for Discovery
The Deep Discoverer remotely operated vehicle gives scientists unprecedented access to the deep ocean. (Video)

In the deep ocean, however, there is no light and thus no plants; so instead of sunlight being the primary form of energy, chemical energy is used via chemosynthesis.

Chemosynthetic Oases
In the deep ocean, there is no light and thus there are no plants, so chemical energy is produced via chemosynthesis. (Video)

One of the goals of the Gulf of Mexico 2017 expedition was to search for corals in deep waters of the Gulf, as these corals provide habitat for a diversity of organisms.

Architects of the Deep
One of the goals of the expedition was to search for corals in deep waters of the Gulf, as these corals provide habitat for a diversity of organisms. (Video)

For marine archaeologists, 'treasure' comes not in the form of material goods collected from a shipwreck, but rather the knowledge that can be gained from studying the wreck.

True Treasure
For marine archaeologists, 'treasure' is not material goods, but the knowledge gained from studying a shipwreck. (Video)

In this video, you can see droplets of methane coming out of the seafloor that are that encased with methane hydrate.

Dive 17: Methane Hydrate...And Bubbles!
Video of droplets of methane coming out of the seafloor that are that encased with methane hydrate. (Video)

While exploring Dauphin Dome, we encountered this chemosynthetic community of copepods, shrimp, and other life thriving around a bush of Lamellibrachia sp. tubeworms.

Dive 16: Tubeworm Metropolis
While exploring Dauphin Dome, we encountered this chemosynthetic community thriving around a bush of tubeworms. (Video)

While exploring a site referred to as ''Gulfoil/MC796,' we had this rare encounter with a swordfish feeding.

Dive 15: Swipe of the Sword
While exploring "Gulfoil/MC796," we had a rare encounter with a swordfish feeding. (Video)

We didn’t encounter many octopods during this expedition, but on the dive at Gulfoil/MC796, we saw two.

Dive 15: Octopus
One of two octopods seen during the dive at Gulfoil/MC796. (Video)

A chimaera seen during Dive 14 of the expedition. These fish are also known as rabbit fishes and spook fishes.

Dive 14: Cartoon Chimaera
A chimaera seen during Dive 14 of the expedition. (Video)

This shortfin squid, of the genus Illex, was seen swimming in the water column.

Dive 13: Shortfin Squid
This shortfin squid, of the genus Illex, was seen swimming in the water column. (Video)

During Dive 12, we set out to explore a side scan sonar target thought to represent an archaeological site and related debris; however, the target instead ended up being a 40-foot shipping container and its contents.

Dive 12: Wreck 15725: Deep Clean
We set out to explore a possible shipwreck; instead we found a 40-foot shipping container and its contents. (Video)

This sea cucumber, Enypniastes eximia, spends most of its time on the seafloor, feeding off of surface sediments; it can, however, swim if it wants to get somewhere more quickly or evade a predator.

Dive 11: Headless Chicken Monster
This sea cucumber, Enypniastes eximia, spends most of its time on the seafloor, but it can swim. (Video)

We found this brine pool, which is essentially an underwater lake.

Dive 10: Bucket List Brine
We found this brine pool, which is essentially an underwater lake. (Video)

Video of liquid asphalt seeping from the seafloor.

Dive 09: Asphalt Seep
Video of liquid asphalt seeping from the seafloor. (Video)

During Dive 08 of the expedition, we encountered many of these bizarre-looking sea cucumbers from the genus Chiridota.

Dive 08: Sea Cucumber
During Dive 08, we saw many of these bizarre-looking sea cucumbers from the genus Chiridota. (Video)

During Dive 07, the team explored a shipwreck known only as 'Wreck 15377,' which was first identified from an oil and gas industry survey back in 2002, but never visually surveyed -- until now.

Dive 07: Shipwreck Puzzle
During Dive 07, the team explored a shipwreck which was first identified from an oil and gas industry survey in 2002. (Video)

To the backdrop of video highlights from exploration of a portion of the West Florida Escarpment, co-science lead Diva Amon considers how this expedition sets the stage for follow-on research of our vast and unknown ocean.

Dive 06: The First Question
To the backdrop of highlights from Dive 06, Diva Amon considers how this expedition sets the stage for follow-on research. (Video)

Seen during Dive 05 of the expedition, this elegant glass sponge provides a home for gooseneck barnacles, brittle stars, and anemones.

Dive 05: Life on a Glass Sponge
This glass sponge provides a home for barnacles, brittle stars, and anemones. (Video)

This armored searobin (Peristedion sp.) attempted to scare off the Deep Discoverer during Dive 04.

Dive 04: I'm Bigger Than You!
This armored searobin attempted to scare off the Deep Discoverer during Dive 04. (Video)

This sea spider, or pycnogonid, was seen swimming through the water during Dive 03.

Dive 03: Sea Spider
This sea spider, or pycnogonid, was seen swimming through the water during Dive 03. (Video)

The team came upon this canyon wall covered with glass sponges and many large coral colonies.

Dive 02: Wall of Life
The team came upon this canyon wall covered with glass sponges and many large coral colonies. (Video)

During the first dive of the expedition, we saw this giant deep-sea isopod, Bathynomus giganteus.

Dive 01: Giant Isopod
During the first dive of the expedition, we saw this giant deep-sea isopod, Bathynomus giganteus. (Video)

 

 

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Images (Daily Updates)

Sunrise over the back of NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer.

December 21
Sunrise over the back of NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. (HR)

A red crab sits on a piece of carbonate near a methane seep.

December 20
A red crab sits on a piece of carbonate near a methane seep. (HR)

Deep Discoverer encountered several of these depressions or potmarks that are likley associated with the release of methane from the seafloor.

December 20
Deep Discoverer encountered several of these depressions, likely associated with methane release. (HR)

Deep Discoverer encountered this unusual ctenophore swimming above the seafloor.

December 20
Deep Discoverer encountered this unusual ctenophore swimming above the seafloor. (HR)

Paroriza pallens sea cucumbers were the most frequently encountered large deposit feeders on this dive.

December 19
Paroriza pallens sea cucumbers were the most frequently encountered large deposit feeders on this dive. (HR)

A dense cluster of Escarpia sp. chemosynthetic tubeworms at a cold seep, accompanied by an Alvinocaris sp. shrimp and a chaetopterid polychaete waving its pair of feeding palps from its slender bamboo-like tube.

December 19
A dense cluster of tubeworms at a cold seep, accompanied by a shrimp and a polychaete. (HR)

Fish experts on the global midwater team were blown away by the appearance of this fish from the genus Leptochilichthys.

December 19
Fish experts were blown away by the appearance of this fish from the genus Leptochilichthys. (HR)

The giant isopod, Bathynomus giganteus, at its burrow tunnel, accompanied by a hitchhiking spider crab, at a depth of 545 meters (1,788 feet)..

December 18
The giant isopod at its burrow tunnel, accompanied by a hitchhiking spider crab. (HR)

A small shark, perhaps the black dogfish, Centroscyllium fabricii, at a depth of 601 meters (1,972 feet).

December 18
A small shark, perhaps the black dogfish, Centroscyllium fabricii, at a depth of 601 meters. (HR)

A siphonophore imaged during one of our midwater transects.

December 18
A siphonophore imaged during one of our midwater transects. (HR)

The tripod fish, Bathypterois viridensis, with parasitic isopods attached to two of its fins.

December 17
The tripod fish, Bathypterois viridensis, with parasitic isopods attached to two of its fins. (HR)

A coronate medusa, Periphylla periphylla, that collided with the seafloor.

December 17
A coronate medusa, Periphylla periphylla, that collided with the seafloor. (HR)

An olive-colored empty egg case of a cartilaginous fish – either a skate, ray, or shark – attached to the octocoral Swiftia koreni.

December 17
An olive-colored empty egg case of a cartilaginous fish – either a skate, ray, or shark – attached to an octocoral. (HR)

A cerianthid burrowing anemone builds a tube in the sediment out of secreted fine threads and mucus, which it can withdraw rapidly into and completely for protection.

December 16
A cerianthid burrowing anemone builds a tube in the sediment out of secreted fine threads and mucus. (HR)

A cynoglossid tonguefish (Symphurus sp.) related to flounders, soles, and halibut, lies on the sediment.

December 16
A cynoglossid tonguefish (Symphurus sp.) related to flounders, soles, and halibut, lies on the sediment. (HR)

The top of a craggy pinnacle about two meters tall supports a dense community of orange, suspension-feeding, brisingid sea stars and, at the very top, a gorgonocephalid basket star.

December 16
The top of a craggy pinnacle supports a dense community of brisingid sea stars and a gorgonocephalid basket star. (HR)

After being blown out to sea, this pelican landed on the ship to catch his breath.

December 15
After being blown out to sea, this pelican landed on the ship to catch his breath. (HR)

A hormathiid anemone and hydroids on the underside of the shipping container.

December 14
A hormathiid anemone and hydroids on the underside of the shipping container. (HR)

The mucous (protein and cellulose) house of a larvacean, a planktonic relative of sea squirts.

December 14
The mucous (protein and cellulose) house of a larvacean, a planktonic relative of sea squirts. (HR)

A colonial tuscarorid phaeodarean, a relative of radiolarians and foraminiferans, feeding on a filament of marine snow.

December 14
A colonial tuscarorid phaeodarean feeding on a filament of marine snow. (HR)

The coiled tip of an isidid bamboo coral whip (Lepidisis caryophyllia) found growing out of a sediment substrate.

December 13
The coiled tip of an isidid bamboo coral whip found growing out of a sediment substrate. (HR)

The anterior end of a chemosynthetic siboglinid tubeworm, Lamellibrachia sp., protrudes from its tube.

December 13
The anterior end of a chemosynthetic siboglinid tubeworm protrudes from its tube. (HR)

A sea cucumber (Benthodytes sp. ) and a shrimp (Nematocarcinus sp.) happen to wander near each other.

December 13
A sea cucumber and a shrimp happen to wander near each other. (HR)

Hariotta raleighana, a long-nosed chimaera, dropped by during the dive.

December 12
Hariotta raleighana, a long-nosed chimaera, dropped by during the dive. (HR)

Bathymodiolus mussel beds are home to a huge variety of invertebrates, including ophiuroids, scaleworms, and limpets.

December 12
Bathymodiolus mussel beds are home to a variety of invertebrates, including ophiuroids, scaleworms, and limpets. (HR)

Neolithodes agassizii, a major predator at Gulf of Mexico cold seeps, is observed chowing down on a Bathymodiolus brooksi mussel.

December 12
Neolithodes agassizii is observed chowing down on a Bathymodiolus brooksi mussel. (HR)

Two deep-sea male red crabs, Chaceon quinquedens, go claw-to-claw in an apparent duel for the affections of a nearby female.

December 11
Two deep-sea male red crabs go claw-to-claw in an apparent duel for the affections of a nearby female. (HR)

Squat lobsters take shelter among a dense cluster of Desmophyllum sp. cup corals and a white Anthothela sp. octocoral growing on the mostly dead skeleton of the stony coral Madrepora oculata.

December 11
Squat lobsters take shelter among a dense cluster of cup corals and a white octocoral growing on dead stony coral skeleton. (HR)

A hermit crab (Paguroidea sp.) with an anemone that substitutes for a shell.

December 10
A hermit crab (Paguroidea sp.) with an anemone that substitutes for a shell. (HR)

The chemosynthetic community found at the second bubble target included Lamellibrachia tubeworms, Bathymodiolus mussels, Chiridota holothurians, Alvinocaris shrimp, anemones, and ophiuroids.

December 10
The chemosynthetic community found at the second bubble target. (HR)

The ophidiid Penopus microphthalmus imaged at a depth of 2,152 meters (1.34 miles).

December 10
The ophidiid Penopus microphthalmus imaged at a depth of 2,152 meters. (HR)

First view of the wreck’s bow outlined by the remnant copper sheathing, with one hawse pipe in foreground and another just aft of the stempost at right.

December 9
First view of the wreck’s bow outlined by the remnant copper sheathing. (HR)

Transferware teacup and open end of a glass bottle found toward the stern.

December 9
Transferware teacup and open end of a glass bottle found toward the stern. (HR)

Ship’s stove, found amidships, is a likely home for two spider crabs, Rochinia crassa.

December 9
Ship’s stove, found amidships, is a likely home for two spider crabs, Rochinia crassa. (HR)

The calm before the storm: The cold front passes over the ship.

December 6-8
The calm before the storm: The cold front passes over the ship. (HR)

A Metallogorgia sp. octocoral with a commensal serpent star (Ophiocreas sp.).

December 5
A Metallogorgia sp. octocoral with a commensal serpent star (Ophiocreas sp.). (HR)

A stalked hyocrinid sea lily with Amathillopsis sp. amphipods living on the stalk.

December 5
A stalked hyocrinid sea lily with Amathillopsis sp. amphipods living on the stalk. (HR)

One of the spectacular sessile communities spotted during the dive. These were mostly comprised of octocorals, black corals, and sponges.

December 5
One of the spectacular sessile communities spotted during the dive. (HR)

Umbellula sea pens are sediment dwellers. This one has a mysid keeping it company.

December 4
Umbellula sea pens are sediment dwellers. This one has a mysid keeping it company. (HR)

A polychaete scaleworm (Polynoidae sp.) seen just above the seafloor.

December 4
A polychaete scaleworm (Polynoidae sp.) seen just above the seafloor. (HR)

This cerianthid, a tube-dwelling anemone, is likely an unknown species. This one has built its tube of adhesive threads and sediment in a hole in the carbonate substrate.

December 4
This cerianthid, a tube-dwelling anemone, is likely an unknown species. (HR)

A hydromedusa observed during midwater transects.

December 4
A hydromedusa observed during midwater transects. (HR)

A serpent star, Astroporpa cf. annulata, clings to the skeleton of bamboo coral. Serpent stars, basket stars, and brittle stars all fall within the class Ophiuroidea.

December 3
A serpent star clings to the skeleton of bamboo coral. (HR)

This congrid eel was observed eating a smaller fish. Throughout the dive, we saw nearly 15 different species of fish

December 3
This congrid eel was observed eating a smaller fish. (HR)

Beautiful Gracilechinus gracilis urchins are typically found on hard substrates in the Gulf of Mexico and northwestern Atlantic Ocean. Here you can see the tube feet are extended!

December 3
Gracilechinus gracilis urchins are found on hard substrates in the Gulf of Mexico and northwestern Atlantic Ocean. (HR)

As with our first two dives, Illex sp. shortfin squid were observed during the dive, sometimes in large schools.

December 2
Remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer investigates some of the striking geology seen during the dive. (HR)

A Darwin’s slimehead hangs out a few meters off the bottom.

December 2
A Darwin’s slimehead hangs out a few meters off the bottom. (HR)

As with our first two dives, Illex sp. shortfin squid were observed during the dive, sometimes in large schools.

December 2
As with our first two dives, shortfin squid were observed during the dive, sometimes in large schools. (HR)

We observed several of these tripod fish (Bathypterois sp.) perched on their fins and facing into the current, waiting for food to drift by.

December 1
We observed several of these tripod fish perched on their fins and facing into the current, waiting for food to drift by. (HR)

The most dramatic part of the dive was a steep section of wall covered in Euplectellidae sponges.

December 1
The most dramatic part of the dive was a steep section of wall covered in Euplectellidae sponges. (HR)

This polychaete worm had incorporated a number of pteropod shells into its tube.

December 1
This polychaete worm had incorporated a number of pteropod shells into its tube. (HR)

A chirostylid squat lobster hangs out in an octocoral fan (Paramuricea sp.) that has been overgrown with colonial anemones (zoanthids).

November 30
A chirostylid squat lobster hangs out in an octocoral fan that has been overgrown with colonial anemones. (HR)

Two blind white lobsters (Acanthacaris caeca) share a burrow.

November 30
Two blind white lobsters share a burrow. (HR)

Dr. Chuck Messing pulls a carnivorous cladorhizid sponge sample out of Deep Discoverer’s biobox.

November 30
Dr. Chuck Messing pulls a carnivorous cladorhizid sponge sample out of Deep Discoverer’s biobox. (HR)

A dolphin rides the bow as the ship leaves port.

November 29
A dolphin rides the bow as the ship leaves port. (HR)

 

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Images (Mission Logs)

We didn’t encounter many octopods during this expedition, but on the December 18 dive at Gulfoil/MC796, we saw two, likely Muusoctopus januarii.

December 21
We didn’t encounter many octopods during this expedition, but on the December 18 dive, we saw two. (HR)

Close up of a blind white lobster (Acanthacaris caeca).

December 21
Close up of a blind white lobster (Acanthacaris caeca). (HR)

A giant deep-sea isopod, Bathynomus giganteus, with an antipatharian whip coral, Stichopathes sp., in the foreground.

December 21
A giant deep-sea isopod, Bathynomus giganteus, with an antipatharian whip coral, Stichopathes sp.. (HR)

During Dive 07, Deep Discoverer explored an unknown shipwreck identified by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management simply as “ID Number 15377.”

December 21
During Dive 07, we explored an unknown shipwreck identified simply as “ID Number 15377.” (HR)

Sea cucumbers with chemosynthetic mussels seen during Dive 08 of the expedition at a seep site.

December 21
Sea cucumbers with chemosynthetic mussels seen during Dive 08 of the expedition at a seep site. (HR)

A particularly grumpy-looking ophidiiform cusk eel encountered at a depth of 1,585 meters (5,200 feet) during Dive 12.

December 21
A particularly grumpy-looking ophidiiform cusk eel encountered at a depth of 1,585 meters. (HR)

A snake star coiled among the branches of a small octocoral and surrounded by the spiny arms of brisingid sea stars.

December 21
A snake star coiled among the branches of a small octocoral and surrounded by the spiny arms of brisingid sea stars. (HR)

This dandelion siphonophore was seen while exploring “Penchant Basin” at a depth of ~800 meters (2,625 feet).

December 21
This dandelion siphonophore was seen while exploring “Penchant Basin” at a depth of ~800 meters. (HR)

During this expedition, we had the opportunity to explore the water column following the seafloor portion of several dives.

December 21
During this expedition, we had the opportunity to explore the water column following the seafloor portion of several dives. (HR)

Dive 17 explored the northwest part of Horn Dome, a salt-cored bathymetric high that had been the focus of several previous remotely operated vehicle dives.

December 20
Dive 17 explored the northwest part of Horn Dome, a salt-cored bathymetric high that had been the focus of several previous dives. (HR)

During several dives on the Okeanos Explorer Gulf of Mexico 2017 expedition, we found low relief, sediment-covered mounds that may contain a core of gas hydrate mixed with sediment and carbonate rock.

December 20
We found mounds that may contain a core of gas hydrate mixed with sediment and carbonate rock. (HR)

Methane hydrate is stable to the left of the purple curve on this temperature-depth plot.

December 20
Methane hydrate is stable to the left of the purple curve on this temperature-depth plot. (HR)

The orange-stained, massive gas hydrate, which is covered with sediment and probably interspersed with carbonate rock, likely forms the structure of the hydrate mound.

December 20
The orange-stained, massive gas hydrate, which is covered with sediment and probably interspersed with carbonate rock. (HR)

Pink “ice worms” are visible beneath the overhang in the center left part of this photo.

December 20
Pink “ice worms” are visible beneath the overhang in the center left part of this photo. (HR)

Map showing the northern Gulf of Mexico, with the locations of Dive 09, which discovered an asphalt seep at the seafloor, and the 2014 “tar lily” dive, which found seafloor formations made of extruded asphalt.

December 17
Map showing the locations of Dive 09 and the 2014 “tar lily” dive. (HR)

Columnar features made of carbonate form due to slow fluid flux.

December 17
Columnar features made of carbonate form due to slow fluid flux. (HR)

Asphalt, here shown solidified into a seafloor pavement with bulbous features left over from its extrusion, forms a hardground that hosts corals in the Dive 09 area.

December 17
Asphalt forms a hardground that hosts corals in the Dive 09 area. (HR)

High-viscosity oil (black tubules) seeping from the seafloor among white bacterial mats forms asphalt when the extrusions solidify. The long tubules are bent to the left due to the current.

December 17
High-viscosity oil seeping from the seafloor among white bacterial mats forms asphalt when the extrusions solidify. (HR)

Small particles fall from the water surface as marine snow, blanketing the seafloor.

December 14
Small particles fall from the water surface as marine snow, blanketing the seafloor. (HR)

U.S. Geological Survey sediment trap and streaming floats being deployed off the stern of NOAA Ship Nancy Foster.

December 14
U.S. Geological Survey sediment trap and streaming floats being deployed off the stern of NOAA Ship Nancy Foster. (HR)

Sea cucumbers, such as this one seen during Dive 08 of the Gulf of Mexico 2017 expedition, derive food directly from particles that have fallen from the water column and onto the seafloor.

December 14
Sea cucumbers derive food directly from particles that have fallen from the water column and onto the seafloor. (HR)

Alex and other members of the on-ship team receive training from Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration engineer Roland Brian in the Okeanos Explorer's control room.

December 12
Alex and other members of the on-ship team receive training from Roland Brian in the Okeanos Explorer's control room. (HR)

Alex retrieves a crinoid sample that was collected during a dive.

December 12
Alex retrieves a crinoid sample that was collected during a dive. (HR)

Remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer images “Wreck 15377.”

December 10
Remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer images “Wreck 15377.” (HR)

Lead draft marks on the wreck's stem post at what appeared to be one-foot intervals suggest that a significant portion of the hull remains buried under sediment.

December 10
Lead draft marks on the wreck's stem post suggest that a significant portion of the hull remains buried under sediment. (HR)

A large sheet anchor stowed on the deck amidships in the wreck.

December 10
A large sheet anchor stowed on the deck amidships in the wreck. (HR)

This sea lily may be the poorly known Monachocrinus caribbeus, the only member of its family, Bathycrinidae, previously recorded from the Gulf of Mexico.

December 7
This sea lily may be Monachocrinus caribbeus, the only member of its family, Bathycrinidae, previously recorded from the Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

The long prehensile cirri of this feather star are characteristic of family Thalassometridae, and this is also likely a new species.

December 7
The long prehensile cirri of this feather star are characteristic of family Thalassometridae; this is likely a new species. (HR)

This member of Hyocrinidae, the first record of this family from the tropical western Atlantic, is likely a species new to science.

December 7
This member of Hyocrinidae, the first record of this family from the tropical western Atlantic, is likely a new species. (HR)

During the dive, we encountered this common deep-sea fish, Ipnops murrayi. Ipnops is in the family with other tripod fishes (see image below), but lacks the elongated and specialized fin rays.

December 4
During Dive 02, we encountered this common deep-sea fish, Ipnops murrayi. (HR)

Bathypterois viridensis is one of several tripod fishes seen on the expedition thus far.

December 4
Bathypterois viridensis is one of several tripod fishes seen on the expedition thus far. (HR)

This sea toad (Chaunax suttkusi) was seen while exploring “Okeanos Ridge,” on sedimented canyon floor at ~740 meters (2,428 feet) depth.

December 4
This sea toad was seen while exploring “Okeanos Ridge,” on sedimented canyon floor at ~740 meters. (HR)

Another Chaunax sp. seen during the fourth dive of the expedition.

December 4
Another Chaunax sp. seen during the fourth dive of the expedition. (HR)

A pair of Darwin slimeheads (Gephyroberyx darwini) seen under a ledge during exploration of “Long Mounds” on the West Florida Escarpment.

December 4
A pair of Darwin slimeheads seen under a ledge during exploration of “Long Mounds.” (HR)

Basic current patterns in the Gulf of Mexico, including the Loop Current.

December 1
Basic current patterns in the Gulf of Mexico, including the Loop Current. (HR)

Many of the dead squid we observed during the dive appeared to have been pulled into burrows.

December 2
Many of the dead squid we observed during the dive appeared to have been pulled into burrows. (HR)

A crab feasts on a squid.

December 2
A crab feasts on a squid. (HR)

This map shows the geostrophic currents field in the Gulf of Mexico.

December 1
This map shows the geostrophic currents field in the Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

Basic current patterns in the Gulf of Mexico, including the Loop Current.

December 1
Basic current patterns in the Gulf of Mexico, including the Loop Current. (HR)

 

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Images (Background Essays)

Dumbo octopus imaged by the Okeanos Explorer during a 2014 expedition in the Gulf of Mexico.

Mission Plan
Dumbo octopus imaged by the Okeanos Explorer during a 2014 expedition in the Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

Map of the general expedition operating area. The white polygon denotes the Gulf of Mexico 2017/2018 expeditions operating area for the Okeanos Explorer<. The color-coded bathymetry shows cumulative multibeam sonar bathymetry collected previously by the Okeanos Explorer.

Mission Plan
Map of the general expedition operating area. The white polygon denotes the Gulf of Mexico 2017/2018 expeditions operating area. (HR)

An aggregation of ice worms inhabiting methane hydrate. These worms eat chemoautotrophic bacteria using chemicals in the hydrate.

Chemosynthetic Communities
An aggregation of ice worms inhabiting methane hydrate. (HR)

An aggregation of Lamellibrachia sp. tubeworms providing habitat for many smaller animals such as the small white anemones covering the tubeworm tubes and the shrimp Alvinocaris muricola. The tiny white spots all around the tubeworms are copepods, tiny swimming crustaceans.

Chemosynthetic Communities
An aggregation of tubeworms providing habitat for many smaller animals such as small white anemones and shrimp. (HR)

Bathymodiolus mussels (both dead and alive) are seen underneath a carbonate overhang. Also visible under this overhang is methane hydrate. Between the mussels, urchins and sea stars can also be seen.

Chemosynthetic Communities
Bathymodiolus mussels are seen underneath a carbonate overhang. (HR)

Orange fly-trap anemone on Lophelia pertusa coral reef at Viosca Knoll near 500 meters depth.

Deep-Sea Coral Habitats in the Gulf of Mexico
Orange fly-trap anemone on Lophelia pertusa coral reef at Viosca Knoll. (HR)

A field of sea fans (Callogorgia sp.) with brittle stars (Asteroschema sp.).

Deep-Sea Coral Habitats in the Gulf of Mexico
A field of sea fans with brittle stars. (HR)

Madrepora oculata colony and with several deep-sea red crab Chaceon quinquedens. The ‘X’ marker was placed by deep-sea researchers in 2010 so they could return to this spot.

Deep-Sea Coral Habitats in the Gulf of Mexico
Madrepora oculata colony and with several deep-sea red crab Chaceon quinquedens. (HR)

A rare instance of deep-sea predation captured on camera, a sea urchin munches on a Plumarella octocoral. This may be the first time sea urchin predation on coral was captured so close-up, thanks to the incredible image capabilities of the Deep Discoverer ROV.

Deep-Sea Coral Habitats in the Gulf of Mexico
Deep-sea predation captured on camera, a sea urchin munches on an octocoral. (HR)

The deepwater environment of the Florida Escarpment proved to be a good habitat for diverse deepwater coral communities. In this image alone, there are four different species of corals, including bubblegum and bamboo corals.

Deep-Sea Coral Habitats in the Gulf of Mexico
The Florida Escarpment proved to be a good habitat for diverse deepwater coral communities. (HR)

Cannon recovered by archaeologists from an early 19th century shipwreck in 4,000 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico.

Shipwrecks
Cannon recovered by archaeologists from an early 19th century shipwreck in 4,000 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

The bow of a ship discovered by Okeanos Explorer in 2012 believed to be a privateer.

Shipwrecks
The bow of a ship discovered by Okeanos Explorer in 2012 believed to be a privateer. (HR)

View inside the conning tower of the German U-boat U-166.

Shipwrecks
View inside the conning tower of the German U-boat, U-166.

A natural extrusion of tar on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.

Shipwrecks
A natural extrusion of tar on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

A dense aggregation of the deep-sea coral Lophelia pertusa at 500 meters (1,640 feet) depth in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf of Mexico Deep-sea Habitat Protections
Dense aggregation of the coral Lophelia pertusa at 500 meters depth in the northern Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

Schematic showing different management categories of fishery resources. The ecological importance and need to manage fishery resources in each category increases from left to right.

Gulf of Mexico Deep-sea Habitat Protections
Schematic showing different management categories of fishery resources.

Photograph of deep-sea coral and a squat lobster on the West Florida Shelf in an area currently being considered for designation as a habitat area of particular concern by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

Gulf of Mexico Deep-sea Habitat Protections
Photograph of deep-sea coral and a squat lobster on the West Florida Shelf. (HR)

Iridigorgia soft coral with squat lobsters in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf of Mexico Deep-sea Habitat Protections
Iridigorgia soft coral with squat lobsters in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

Euplectella aspergillum glass sponge in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf of Mexico Deep-sea Habitat Protections
Euplectella aspergillum glass sponge in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s Mohawk remotely operated vehicle holding a black coral collected in a newly explored areas at Elvers Bank in September 2017.

Gulf of Mexico Deep-sea Habitat Protections
The Mohawk ROV holding a black coral collected in a newly explored areas at Elvers Bank. (HR)

A sample of a potentially new species of black coral (Distichopathes sp.) found in newly explored areas at Elvers Bank. New discoveries are likely as we continue to explore new areas.

Gulf of Mexico Deep-sea Habitat Protections
A sample of a potentially new species of black coral found in newly explored areas at Elvers Bank. (HR)

Map showing the geographic regions in which the Southeast Deep Coral Initiative (SEDCI) will operate in 2016-2019. This area corresponds to the jurisdiction of three fishery management councils, including Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic and Caribbean fishery management councils (GMFMC, SAFMC, CFMC), shown in gray. Areas where deep-sea habitats are protected through fishing restrictions are shown in orange.

SEDCI
Map showing the geographic regions in which the Southeast Deep Coral Initiative (SEDCI) will operate in 2016-2019. (HR)

A dense community of black corals, octocorals, and crinoids at 122 meters (400 feet) depth on Elvers Bank in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. The image was taken during a 2017 SEDCI-supported expedition aboard R/V Manta.

SEDCI
A dense community of black corals, octocorals, and crinoids at 122 meters depth on Elvers Bank in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

Thorny tinselfish, Grammicolepis brachiusculus, swimming above a dense aggregation of Lophelia pertusa and the squat lobster Eumunida picta at 496 meters (1,627 meters) on the West Florida Slope. The image was taken on a 2017 SEDCI-supported expedition aboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster.

SEDCI
Thorny tinselfish swimming above a dense aggregation of Lophelia pertusa and the squat lobster Eumunida picta. (HR)

 

 

 

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