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

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)

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)

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 the poorly known 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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