Scleractinian hard coral imaged by the Little Hercules ROV at 1382 meters depth. Based on published results, this coral may be 1,000 to 6,000 years old.

Scleractinian hard coral imaged by the Little Hercules ROV at 1382 meters depth. Based on published results, this coral may be 1,000 to 6,000 years old. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, INDEX-SATAL 2010. Download larger version (jpg, 2.0 MB).

Dive 14: Gelembung II
August 6, 2010
Latitude: 2d 41.189975’ N
Longitude: 125d 15.470076’ E
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Hard Coral

Scleractinian hard coral. Based on published results, this coral may be 1,000 to 6,000 years old. Video captured August 5, 2010 by the Little Hercules ROV at 1382 meters depth on a new seamount mapped by Baruna Jaya IV during the INDEX SATAL 2010 Expedition. Video courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010. Download (mp4, 9.7 MB)

Dive number 14 was conducted on a seamount discovered by Indonesian Research Vessel Baruna Jaya IV during recent mapping operations. The site is referred to as “Gelembung II”. This dive started with a climb up the western leg of the seamount, and then headed north to the top of the ridge of this feature – the westernmost leg of a bifurcating limb. The seafloor was mostly exposed basalt and layering rock with a fine layer of sediment in some regions. A very high abundance and diversity of sessile fauna and its associates was observed in this site. Very high numbers of large sized and healthy bamboo, golden, bubblegum, black and precious corals, and large stalked sea lilies were observed throughout the dive. Very steep walls were commonly encountered. The very high coral dominance presented a shift at the shallower depths where sea lilies appeared more abundant. Nonetheless the abundance of corals remained high. Abundance of fish fauna was very low. We found various bamboo fan-shaped colonies of remarkably large size. A noteworthy observation was the finding of a very large fan-shaped colony of the Scleractinian hard coral, which is likely to be thousands of years old.