A deep-sea red crab hangs out on a bubblegum coral. If you look carefully, you can see a skate egg case on the same branch as the crab and a colony of the white morph of bubblegum coral in the background. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Our Deepwater Backyard: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts 2014. Download larger version (jpg, 1.4 MB).
Dive 03 was on a shallow section of the southern flank of Norfolk Canyon with the primary objective of locating characterizing deep-sea coral habitat. Remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer (D2) landed on a rippled soft sediment seafloor with red crabs, hake, and eels. The geology of this portion of Norfolk Canyon was characterized by soft sedimented seafloor with thin layered hard rock outcrops, often heavily colonized with biota, particularly underneath ledges. Shortly after beginning our transit up slope, D2 encountered several colonies of octocorals (including acanthagorgia, anthothela, and bubble gum corals), anemones, hake, squat lobsters, red crabs, a high diversity of sponges, and brittle stars buried in the mud. Other fauna spotted during the dive included bryozoans, beryx, shrimp, hydroids, blackbelly rosefish, a small chaunax, and several schools of squid. D2 also imaged two goosefish attacking squids and several large (>1 meter) bubblegum coral colonies.