Yellow zoanthids colonizing the base of a dead golden octocoral skeleton. Several living colonies of golden octocorals in the background. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2017 American Samoa. Download larger version (jpg, 1.6 MB).
Dive 7: Venus Flytrap Anemone
A beautiful, but perhaps sinister, Venus flytrap anemone perched on top of a dead Iridogorgia coral, closes up as the remotely operated vehicle approaches. Video courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2017 American Samoa. Download (mp4, 20.4 MB)
The seamount exploredon this dive, tentatively called "Moki" seamount, lies on the northern region of the American Samoa Exclusive Economic Zone. Upon reaching the seafloor at a depth of ~2,200 meters, the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) encountered ferromanganese outcrops covered with many chrysogorgiid octocorals (Pleurogorgia), some with brittle star, zoanthid, anemone, and hydroid associates. Intermixed with the live octocorals were also dead corals colonized by zoanthids and worms. We then moved through a series of steep walls constructed of pillow basalts lightly covered with sediment, before reaching a talus field of ferromanganese cobbles. Along the way, we observed any abundance of corals (whip black corals, Iridogorgia, Chrysogorgia, Pleurogorgia, and isidid colonies) as well as squat lobsters, anemones, hydroids, brisingid sea stars, and ophiuroids. During the dive, only one fish, a halosaur, and one glass sponge were seen.