Underside of a sea star feeding on a bamboo coral. Sea stars are predators of invertebrates and feed by inverting their guts on their prey. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2015 Hohonu Moana. Download larger version (jpg, 1.7 MB).
Dive 10 of the expedition was conducted today on a ridge that extends to the southeast of Salmon Bank, with the objective of surveying a completely unexplored area for corals and sponges. The dive started at 2,052 meters on a manganese-crusted, sloped surface covered with rubble and sediment and a moderate density of sponges and corals. As the ROV moved up the slope of the ridge, the density of animals increased substantially around at 2,000 meters, including numerous sponges and corals. The ROV kept moving up the slope following a narrow region along the ridge, which had a higher density of animals. At 1,882 meters, there was another evident increase in the density of animals, coinciding with the ROV moving over to the western side of the ridge. The ROV left the bottom at a depth of 1,849 meters after covering a linear distance of approximately 550 meters. Several fishes were observed during the dive.