An aggregation of deep sea red crabs prey on what appear to be eggs lying on the seafloor. Large numbers of this commercially important species were imaged during today's dive. The red dots are lasers from the ROV located 10 centimeters apart. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition 2013. Download larger version (jpg, 1.3 MB).
Highlights from the second dive of the expedition to explore between Veatch and Nantucket Canyons. Video courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition 2013. Download video (mp4, 64.2 MB).
The second remotely operated vehicle dive of the expedition was conducted today between Veatch and Nantucket Canyons, investigating numerous pockmark features on the upper continental slope between 500 and 650 meters above the headwall scarp of a landslide. An enormous aggregation of krill were encountered at the beginning of the dive and remained with the vehicle throughout. The seafloor at this site was covered in silty, soft sediment, and there was no observable difference in the sediment inside or outside the pockmark features. Moving west across the seafloor, we encountered igneous dropstones/glacial erratics throughout the dive and occasional clumps of hard substrates surrounded by scouring. Algal debris, garbage, and ghost fishing gear was often observed. The fishing gear included unrecovered crab traps signifying that fishing is evident in this area. Many red crabs were observed during the entire dive. Noteworthy crab behaviors included mating, preying on midwater fishes, and preying on what appeared to be eggs lying on the seafloor. We also observed Jonah crab, numerous hermit crabs, and occasional squat lobsters in the area. Demersal fishes were also diverse throughout this dive.