Always an interesting find, this Chaunax, a type of frog fish, delighted our onboard science team during Dive 2 at Pagan. Video courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas. Download (mp4, 94.3 MB)
Dive 2 took place on a small ridge feature of off the northeast side of Pagan, one of the largest volcanoes in the Marianas Arc. Remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer (D2) descended onto the seafloor at around 370 meters in search for high-density communities of deep-sea and precious corals and bottom fish habitats. The ridge looked very smooth on bathymetric data, but our in situ exploration revealed a surprising amount of dramatic topography and biologic diversity was high. As D2 transited upslope, we observed several species of coral, anemone, sponges, sea stars, basket stars, and fish. Dive highlights were an encounter with a smalltooth sand tiger (Odontaspis ferox) and a Long-Tail Red Snapper. Surprisingly, not much precious coral was seen on this dive, potentially due to this area being too active and the rock surface being too new or unstable. D2's manipulator arm was able to successfully recover a sample of a pom pom anemone, a yellow stony coral, and two rock samples – scoria and a basalt/basaltic-andesite pillow fragment with plag phenocrysts.