This rare yellow ctenophore caused quite a stir amongst our science team as it drifted into remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer’s field of view. It was later identified as Lampocteis cruentiventer, a ctenophore that comes in a variety of body colors and pigments but all have a blood red gut. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Gulf of Mexico 2014 Expedition. Download larger version (jpg, 1.2 MB).
Okeanos Explorer EX1402L3
Dive 04: Keathley Canyon. Video courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. Download (mp4, 20.4 MB)
Dive 4 conducted a transect from the main channel of Keathley Canyon up the western wall, starting from a depth of 2,000 meters and ending at approximately 1,760 meteres. The main channel was characterized by soft, unconsolidated sediment with a down-canyon current of approximately one knot. Biota in this area was rare, but included sea cucumbers, sea stars, a few thread shrimp, a Liparid (snail fish), and several halosaurs (lizardfish). Deep Discoverer (D2) next transited up the canyon’s lower west-facing wall, which was composed of slightly consolidated sediment. Sparse fauna along this wall included more sea stars and two clusters of parchment worms. After the lower wall, D2 moved across a flat area before reaching a second, steeper wall. Numerous slump scars were visible, as were numerous meandering gullies that suggested brine seeps. However, no such seeps were encountered. While transiting up this slope, D2 encountered several octocorals, crinoids, fly trap anemones, and sponges. There were also sea pens, an egg mass, and squat lobsters. The upper part of this wall appeared unstable (possibly from brine seepage) and had evidence of landslides. Crinoids were abundant, as well as living bamboo corals and anemones. We also encountered a bubblegum coral towards the end of the dive.