Bubblegum coral with unidentified green filament. Our science team wondered if the green filaments were sponges or possibly algae snagged on the coral as they drifted down; generally, plants are not found at these depths due to the lack of light. Video courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas. Download (mp4, 92.2 MB)
The first dive of the expedition fell on #OctopusFriday, and we were not disappointed at our dive on Farallon de Medinilla. Video courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas. Download (mp4, 22.2 MB)
Dive 1 was conducted today on Farallon de Medinilla (FDM) to explore the southern ridge for high-density communities of deep-sea corals, including precious corals. Remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer (D2) descended onto a seafloor composed of volcanoclastics and consolidated ash with several sponges at a depth of 411 meters. As D2 transited upslope, we documented several species of corals including precious corals, octocorals, stony corals, and black corals. Throughout the dive, sponges were the most prevalent fauna encountered, with at least six different species seen. Green-eye fish and squat lobsters were also very common. Other organisms documented included an octopus, stalked barnacles, crinoids, urchins, brittle stars, siphonophores, sea stars, and a couple different species of fish. Our science team, both at sea and on land, was puzzled by a green filamentous organism found attached to anything fan-shaped or branching. We collected two rock samples and two sponge samples that were dominant organisms at this site for further analysis following the cruise.