This juvenile bamboo coral is too young for the characteristic segmented “stalk” to be visible, but the image shows sclerites in the tissue of the four small polyps.

This juvenile bamboo coral is too young for the characteristic segmented "stalk" to be visible, but the image shows sclerites in the tissue of the four small polyps. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas. Download larger version (jpg, 891 KB).

Dive 10: Stegasaurus Ridge
21° 58.590'N, 145° 12.301'E, 3,215 meters
June 27, 2016
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Beautiful Brittle Stars

Brittle stars seen during exploration of Stegasaurus Ridge, a newly discovered feature mapped in high resolution for the first time during Leg 2 of the 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas expedition. Video courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas. Download (mp4, 63.0 MB)

On Dive 10 of the third leg of the 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas expedition, we explored Stegasaurus Ridge, a newly discovered feature mapped in high resolution for the first time during Leg 2 of this expedition. Remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer (D2) landed on along a steep ridge with foliated, layered rock and rough blocky surfaces. The seafloor at the top of the ridge was covered with sediment and pebble-sized rock fragments, with occasional cobbles or large boulders, some of which had a dark manganese coating. Eels, snails, squat lobsters, crinoids, stalked barnacles, and several different representatives of echinoderms (crinoids, sea stars, brittle stars, and sea cucumbers) were observed throughout the dive. An unusual echinoderm encountered was the "mudstar," whose tube feet had points instead of suckers to help it dig into the sediment. Several individuals of the hexactinellid sponge were also observed. At the top of the ridge, D2 came across a number of carnivorous demosponges, as well as a juvenile bamboo coral.