Over the last few dives, sea cucumbers have been one of the most abundant species we have seen. This guy was spotted meandering across the soft sediment during dive 08. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Gulf of Mexico 2014 Expedition. Download larger version (jpg, 1.7 MB).
Okeanos Explorer EX1402L3
Dive 08: Keathley Canyon. Video courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. Download (mp4, 12.8 MB)
Dive 08 conducted a 2.4 kilometer transect in Keathley Canyon. The bottom was 100 percent sediment throughout the dive with either rippled or flat sediment. There were many unidentified shrimp, glass tube sponges, swimming sea cucumbers, and spoon worm feeding marks. In addition, brittle stars, Bathysaurus (lizardfish), sea stars, anemones, two types of tripod fish, polychaete tube worms, and a stalked crinoid were all observed. En route to waypoint four, stalked glass sponges were seen both alive and dead in association with flytrap anemones, along with burrows laid in a circle (possibly created by armored shrimp). Towards the end of the dive, Deep Discoverer encountered a paper nautilus shell. At the very end of dive there was a small rock outcrop which was home to one Paramuricea octocoral with associated goose neck barnacles. There were also two species of squat lobsters and several different types of glass sponges present.