A dumbo octopus uses its ear-like fins to propel itself off of the seafloor. Shortly after this octopus left the seafloor, it displayed a never-before-documented body posture. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Gulf of Mexico 2014 Expedition. Download image (jpg, 78 KB).
Okeanos Explorer EX1402L3
Large Mound Deep, West Florida Escarpment Video courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. Download (mp4, 30.6 MB)
Dive 13 scaled the steep slope of a wall along the central part of the West Florida Escarpment in search of deep sea coral habitats. Remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer (D2) landed at a depth of 2,187 meters, on a massive carbonate outcrop. The wall alternated between vertical intervals and benches formed by bedding planes. Thicknesses of individual beds varied, from very thin intervals to massive layers. As D2 climbed the slope, there was an abundance of a wide variety of octocorals, including multiple species of bamboo corals, bubblegum corals, and spiral corals as well as black coral, a few other species of soft corals, and one species of stony coral. Glass sponges and crinoids, including two potential new species, were also common in this area. Throughout the dive fish were rare, with only two observed. On the upper parts of the wall, cavernous overhangs became more prominent and a possible collapse structure was observed at 2,109 meters. Debris of various sizes sat on bedding planes throughout the dive. Two highlights of the dive included a slime star and a rare sighting of a dumbo octopus displaying a never-before-seen body posture. The dive ended atop a small high at the top of the slope at 1,962 meters.