A sea toad hanging out, waiting for its next meal to swim by. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Deepwater Wonders of Wake. Download larger version (jpg, 1.1 MB).
While recovering the ROV, an oceanic whitetip shark cruised by to check out D2. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Deepwater Wonders of Wake. Download larger version (jpg, 1.2 MB).
Dive 6: Sea Toad
On August 6, 2016, during a remotely operated vehicle dive off of Wake Island, we found our old friend the sea toad, who, after a short posing session, was on the move. Video courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Deepwater Wonders of Wake. Download larger version (mp4, 134.2 MB).
The weather was less than ideal during the pre-dive, so we delayed a couple hours to see if things improved, and lucky for us, they did. The remotely operated vehicle was deployed about 1030 ship time and reached the seafloor at a depth of approximately 2,240 meters. This particularly seamount is unnamed and located approximately 50 miles west of Wake Island. Its morphology again defines a flat-topped guyot type, with a summit near 1,200 meters. The seafloor was quite similar to yesterday's dive, although the amount of sand was overall less. The ridge that the vehicles ascended was actually made up of three significant pillow mounds, with more level areas in between. With respect to the biology, this site could be characterized as having a moderate density and moderate diversity coral and sponge community. Most animals were again concentrated on the harder, rockier bottom. Sponges were observed right from the start, several of which were not recognized by any of the participants; one of these was sampled later in the dive (likely a new species of Regadrella). The animals seemed well exposed to the southwestern current on the ridge that sometimes only spanned a few feet across near its crest. In the lower areas with slightly more sediments, the sponges were more dominant, but otherwise there was a good balance of sponges and corals.