Dive 12
July 20, 2013
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A baby octopus (Graneledone verrucosa) moves across the seafloor as ROV Deep Discoverer explores Veatch Canyon on July 20, 2013. Video courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition 2013. Download video (mp4, 15.6 MB).

Dive 12 investigated the transition from canyon processes to landslide deposition within Veatch Canyon to explore the relative timing of past landslide events. The remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer (ROV D2) descended onto a soft sediment bottom with some bioturbation (the reworking/restructuring of sediments by moving organisms) including feeding traces, hummocks, and burrows at a depth of 2,108 meters. The dive track consisted of moving due north through an area of possible geological transition—from canyon to landslide deposition—before heading southwest up a gradual slope on the west side of the canyon wall. Brittle stars (thousands of individuals) blanketed the seafloor throughout the entire dive. Anemones, sea pens, and polychaetes tubeworms were also abundant. Few fishes were observed overall, but those imaged included the deep-sea lizardfish, tripod fish, halosaurs, rattails, and blue cod. Two species of sea cucumbers and at least four species of sea urchins, including green heart urchins, were common. Stalked crinoids (sea lilies) and white brittle stars were common on the sedimented seafloor, but an encountered piece of wood hosted a non-stalked crinoid and a pink brittle star species. As D2 moved up the gradual slope, previously unseen fauna appeared, including at least three different species of sea pens, lithodid king crabs (possibly juveniles), and bamboo corals. On the sea pens, different brittle star associates were observed. The white brittle stars that occurred on the sediment were not the same as those observed on the corals. Anemones were also noted growing on one type of sea pen. The ROV left bottom at a depth of 1,969 meters.