The documentation of this colony of bamboo coral at a depth of 2,834 m possibly extended the depth range of these types corals in the Gulf of Mexico by several hundred meters. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Gulf of Mexico 2014 Expedition. Download larger version (jpg, 1.4 MB).
Okeanos Explorer EX1402L3
Dive 11: Northwest Gulf Deep Near Border. Video courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. Download (mp4, 13.3 MB)
Dive 11 explored the Sigsbee Escarpment, starting on a sediment-covered seafloor at a depth of 2,867 meters. As Deep Discoverer moved up the slope, the seafloor became stepped, characterized by flat-lying outcrops/ridges of layered sediments exposed at the seafloor. The stepped nature of the slope persisted throughout the dive. Several species of octocorals were noted on layered outcrops at approximately 2,830 meters, including bubblegum coral and bamboo corals, possibly extending the known depth range for these types of corals in the Gulf of Mexico by 300-400 meters. Also present were a number of elephant ear sponges, anemones, glass sponges, tube worms, rattail fish, one halosaur, sea stars, and squat lobsters. Prominent furrows oriented diagonally downslope began to appear at 2,777 meters. These furrows/rills persisted upslope almost to the end of the dive. Near the end of the dive, extensive outcrops of sandstone/siltstone occurred, along with complex downslope drainage channels of various sizes. The vehicles were recovered from a depth of 2,723 meters.