High-density coral community encountered as the ROV proceeded up the slope of a pinnacle feature located on the ridge crest. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2015 Hohonu Moana. Download larger version (jpg, 1.4 MB).
Dive 05 of this expedition was the first dive ever conducted on Swordfish Seamount, located in the Geologist Seamounts group. The dive plan was to survey the upper crest of the ridge-shaped summit at a depth of approximately 1,000 meters to search for corals and sponges. The dive started on the west flank of the ridge at 1,071 meters where very few animals were encountered. The ROV then proceeded to the crest, still seeing low abundance. A pinnacle feature was present on the ridge crest and as the ROV proceeded up the northern slope of the pinnacle to its summit at 954 meters, a high-density coral community was encountered. As the ROV came over the summit and proceeded down the southern side to a depth of 1,074 meters, abundance again decreased. The full planned distance of the dive track was achieved and exceeded, for a total distance of 800 meters traveled during today’s dive.