The crew launched the ROV for dive 9 at 4º 56.96'N 125 º 46.70'E around 0815. The target was an oddly shaped feature that rose to a depth of approximately 500m and had an almost square shaped and flat plateau. The plateau measured roughly 4000 by 3500 meters. It dropped off steeply on all sides to a depth of 1100m below. The top surface was composed primarily of eroded carbonate rock with fine-grained pelagic sediment on top. We ascended up a steep slope that contained a high biomass of corals, crinoids, shrimp and galatheid crabs (i.e. squat lobsters). Two of the galatheid crabs were holding a cylindrical shaped purple object that appeared to be some type of egg case or plankton which we could not immediately identify. We saw many of these objects float by the camera throughout the dive. The top of the plateau was fairly deserted in terms of biomass. We did however come across two animals that appeared to be either octopi or squid. We also found an approximately 1m long stingray and several urchins that appeared to have the ability to climb up corals and sponge stalks. After canvassing the plateau for a few hours we descended back down the slope in a different location. The slope included a number of interesting geological features and high biomass. We also found a school of fish and a sandy area beneath a cliff.
Special Note for the Day:
With the NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, there is no single individual, no star of the show. It’s teamwork, with numerous players, many of which are behind the scenes both on the ship, and on the shore.