One of the many large sponges observed during Dive 03. Look closely and you can see a small shrimp who has taken up residence in the sponge. The red dots in the image are lasers that are 10 cm apart and provide scale to help scientists determine the size of the object being imaged. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2015 Hohonu Moana. Download larger version (jpg, 327 KB).
Dive 03 was conducted along a deep spine feature along the Karen Ridge, northeast of Johnston Atoll, approximately 650 miles south of Honolulu, Hawaii. ROV Deep Discoverer (D2) started the dive with an eventful descent with an abundance of life in the water column. D2 landed on a relatively flat bottom with a few swimming crustaceans, sponges, and loose rock at a depth of 3,200 meters. As D2 traveled upslope, we documented sponges, tunicates, crinoids, eels, shrimp, anemones, a stalked barnacle, several brittle stars, and a few corals, including bamboo. Three rock samples and one sponge were collected during today’s dive. Dive 03 was the first of a series of dives that will all be the deepest ever conducted in the Johnston Atoll region.