At the top of the ridge feature visited during Dive 09, ROV Deep Discoverer encountered a dense and diverse deep sea coral community. In this picture alone are at least 4 different species of coral and at least 12 different colonies. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2015 Hohonu Moana. Download larger version (jpg, 1.4 MB).
ROV Deep Discoverer conducted Dive 09 along a narrow ridge just south of Karin Ridge. The dive started from a depth of 1,967 meters and transited upslope, encountering a number of crinoids, sponges, and hydroids that had colonized almost every surface. Other fauna encountered during the transect included a long-finned cusk eel, squat lobsters, a beautiful red ctenophore, octocorals, black corals, shrimp, and anemones. Densities of coral (over 20 species) and sponges (approximately 10 species) were highest at the top of the ridge feature. Several of these corals were very large, leading us to believe they were very old and this was a well-established habitat for deep-sea corals.