Gulf of Mexico 2017

Mission Logs

Follow along as participants in the cruise provide updates and reflections on their experiences, the science, the technology, and other elements of the expedition.


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: Crinoids: Deep-sea Lily-like Animals

Sea lilies and feather stars are among the strangest creatures that Okeanos Explorer has encountered during this expedition. Their formal name, crinoid, means lily-like, and although they appear superficially plant-like, they are animals, complete with digestive and nervous systems.

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

December 4: Fish of the Deep

The first several dives of the expedition took place along the West Florida Escarpment. Some of the fishes observed during these dives included the following demersal taxa that are commonly observed over soft sediments or in rocky habitats at similar depths in the southeastern U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.

A crab feasts on a squid.

December 2: An End-of-life Event for Squid at the Beginning of the Cruise

During the first dive of the expedition, we observed squids that were so numerous that at times as many as 40-50 were in the camera’s field of view at once. It is not unusual to see large schools of shortfin squid. What was remarkable was that D2 came across dozens of dead squid lying on the bottom.

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

December 1: Gulf of Mexico Loop Current

When conducting science at sea, the challenges are many and scientists must be ready to modify plans, often at the last minute. Sometimes Mother Nature is against us, sometimes we face technical issues or challenges—and sometimes, it’s both.



Sign up for the Ocean Explorer Email Update List.