An eel pout burrows into the soft sediment on the seafloor of Ryan Canyon. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Our Deepwater Backyard: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts 2014. Download larger version (jpg, 1.6 MB).
Okeanos Explorer EX1404L3
Dive 12: Ryan Canyon. Video courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. Download (mp4, 27.1 MB)
Remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Deep Discoverer (D2) conducted the first-ever ROV exploration of Ryan Canyon today. D2 landed on a silty seafloor with multiple sea stars, fish, urchins, and human debris at a depth of 1,524 meters. As D2 transited, we encountered shrimp, several species of fish and eels (including witch flounder, cusk eels, chimeras, rattails, hake, a dogfish, an oreo, and eel pouts), brittle stars, occasional cup corals, sea stars, coral rubble, a sea spider, and thousands of sea cucumbers along the seafloor. Upslope, D2 scaled a chalky wall partially covered with a thin layer of soft sediment and large groups of stony corals with bivalves on areas with no sediment cover. Highlights of the dive included a king crab eating a pancake urchin and a coral skeleton that had been colonized by a member of almost every major grouping of benthic cnidarians. Overall, corals were rare with very low diversity during this dive. Also, similar to Dive 03 in adjacent McMaster Canyon, D2 encountered several instances of trash and derelict fishing gear, potentially due to its proximity to shipping channels into large cities on the U.S. East Coast.