Gulf of Mexico 2018







Photo and Video Log

This page contains photos and videos associated with the Gulf of Mexico 2018 expedition. Click on any image to view a larger version and for additional information.

Unless otherwise noted, all images and videos are courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Gulf of Mexico 2018.

(HR) = "High Resolution" images available.

Dive Highlight Videos | Images (Daily Updates) | Images (Mission Logs) | Images (Background Essays)

 


Highlight Videos

Described by our resident cephalopod expert as “probably the most bizarre squid I’ve ever seen,” we encountered this unusual squid while exploring an unnamed mound at a depth of ~850 meters (2,790 feet) during Dive 04.

Dive 04: Twisted Squid
We encountered this unusual squid while exploring an unnamed mound at a depth of ~850 meters. (Video)

While exploring an unidentified shipwreck during Dive 02, we encountered two octopods, <em>Muusoctopus</em> spp., exhibiting unusual behavior as they appeared to wrestle for den space.

Dive 02: Kraken Attack
While exploring an unidentified shipwreck, we encountered two octopods exhibiting unusual behavior. (Video)

Looming out of the gloom in the deep water of the Gulf of Mexico, the tug <em>New Hope</em> appears as a long forgotten crumbling relic.

Dive 01: Shipwreck Photo"bomb"etry
The tug New Hope appears as a long forgotten crumbling relic. (Video)

 

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Images (Daily Updates)

One of the most commonly observed organisms on Dive 05 was this sea pen, an Umbellula species with four large polyps.

April 18
One of the most commonly observed organisms on Dive 05 was this sea pen.

This large (over 20 centimeters from arm tip to arm tip) brittle star (Ophiomusa lymeni) is very common on soft sediments in the Gulf of Mexico.

April 18
This large brittle star is very common on soft sediments in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

 

Another common inhabitant of soft sediments, this long-legged shrimp (Nematocarcinus ensifer) was found at a depth of ~2,770 meters (~9,090 feet).

April 18
Another common inhabitant of soft sediments, this long-legged shrimp was found at a depth of ~2,770 meters.

When this currently unidentified squid (possibly Discoteuthis sp.) was observed, it appeared to be curled in upon itself with its arms folded in what may be a defensive posture.

April 17
When this currently unidentified squid was observed, it appeared to be curled in upon itself.

This blind lobster (Acanthacaris caeca) was observed at ~675 meters (~2,215 feet).

April 17
This blind lobsterwas observed at ~675 meters.

A goosefish (Lophiodes beroe) was observed at ~640 meters (~2,100 feet).

April 17
A goosefish was observed at ~640 meters.

Male skate (Fenestraja sp.) with attached parasitic isopod seen towards the beginning of the dive.

April 16
Male skate with attached parasitic isopod seen towards the beginning of the dive.

This sea cucumber is able to swim freely in the water column. Several individuals were observed on this dive.

April 16
This sea cucumber is able to swim freely in the water column. Several individuals were observed on this dive.

This dark ctenophore was observed with its tentacles fully extended at approximately 1,460 meters (~4,790 feet) deep.

April 16
This dark ctenophore was observed with its tentacles fully extended at approximately 1,460 meters deep.

Wave behind remotely operated vehicle <em>Seirios</em>. With high wind and seas, the dive was canceled today.

April 15
Wave behind ROV Seirios. With high wind and seas, the dive was canceled today.

Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration ROV engineer, Dan Rogers, performs maintenance on Deep Discoverer’s starboard lower lightbar swingarm.

April 14
Dan Rogers performs maintenance on Deep Discoverer’s starboard lower lightbar swingarm.

Lead Scientists, Daniel Wagner and Adam Skarke (from the left), discuss mapping with NOAA Ship <em>Okeanos Explorer</em> Mapping Lead, Mike White (center), Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration ROV Team Lead Karl McKletchie (second from right), and Expedition Coordinator, LT Nick Pawlenko (far right).

April 14
The on-ship team discusses mapping operations.

Numerous Munidopsis squat lobsters were observed on the unidentified wreck.

April 13
Numerous Munidopsis squat lobsters were observed on the unidentified wreck.

A Muusoctopus johnsonianus octopus was observed burying into the sediment near the survey area.

April 13
An octopus was observed burying into the sediment near the survey area.

This unidentified wreck was first discovered by industry mapping surveys.

April 13
This unidentified wreck was first discovered by industry mapping surveys.

Bow and view into the hull of what is believed to be the wreck of the tugboat <em>New Hope</em>.

April 12
Bow and view into the hull of what is believed to be the wreck of the tugboat New Hope.

A red crab (Chaceon quinquedens), which is a commercially fished species on a bollard amidships on the port side of the wreck.

April 12
A red crab on a bollard amidships on the port side of the wreck.

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer at port in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

April 11
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer at port in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

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Images (Mission Logs)

Orthophoto showing the bow of the tugboat New Hope, generated using imagery collected during Dive 01 of the expedition.

April 21
Orthophoto showing the bow of the tugboat New Hope.

 

 

 

Orthophoto looking down (plan view) on the wreck of the New Hope tugboat.

April 21
Orthophoto looking down (plan view) on the wreck of the New Hope tugboat.

On Dive 01, there was what appeared to be a plastic milk or juice container that had become attached to the shipwreck.

April 18
On Dive 01, a plastic milk or juice container had become attached to the shipwreck.

On Dive 02, a glass bottle was observed near the shipwreck we surveyed.

April 18
On Dive 02, a glass bottle was observed near the shipwreck we surveyed.

When we reached the bottom at nearly 1,600 meters (~5,250 feet) on Dive 03, one of the first things we observed was a plastic bag with anemones on it.

April 18
On Dive 03, one of the first things we observed was a plastic bag with anemones on it.

ROV Deep Discoverer explores the cultural heritage site during Dive 02 of the Gulf of Mexico 2018 expedition.

April 15
ROV Deep Discoverer explores the cultural heritage site during Dive 02 of the expedition.

Port side of what is believed to be the tugboat New Hope, which was sunk during Tropical Storm Debbie in September 1965.

April 15
Port side of what is believed to be the tugboat New Hope, which was sunk during Tropical Storm Debbie in September 1965.

An electric light fixture was observed on the wreck surveyed during Dive 01 of the Gulf of Mexico 2018 expedition.

April 15
An electric light fixture was observed on the wreck surveyed during Dive 01 of the Gulf of Mexico 2018 expedition.

Article about the USCG rescue of the crew of tugboat New Hope in the September 29, 1965 edition of the Times-Picayune.

April 15
Article about the USCG rescue of the crew of tugboat New Hope in the Times-Picayune.

Image of the captain and two crew members of tugboat New Hope in the September 29, 1965 edition of the Times-Picayune.

April 15
Image of the captain and two crew members of tugboat New Hope in the Times-Picayune.

A semi-submersible oil rig is a floating platform anchored to ocean floor with strong mooring lines that can extend many nautical miles out.

April 15
A semi-submersible oil rig is a floating platform anchored to ocean floor with mooring lines that can extend many nautical miles.

Bathymetric image of the semi-submersible oil rig, its mooring anchor points, its mooring chains (identified by the mapping team in the water column data), pipelines, and the marine archaeological dive target.

April 15
Bathymetric image of the semi-submersible oil rig, its mooring anchor points and chains, and the marine archaeological dive target.

Two Muusoctopus spp. appear to wrestle for space inside the wreck seen on Dive 02 of the expedition.

April 15
Two Muusoctopus spp. appear to wrestle for space inside the wreck seen on Dive 02 of the expedition.

LT Abbitt plotting a fix at the charting table on the bridge of the Okeanos Explorer.

April 13
LT Abbitt plotting a fix at the charting table on the bridge of the Okeanos Explorer. (HR)

LT Abbitt behind a beautiful crop of Dendrogyra cylindrus (Pillar Coral) at Sand Key Sanctuary Preservation Area, 6 miles south of Key West.

April 13
LT Abbitt behind a beautiful crop of pillar coral at Sand Key Sanctuary Preservation Area. (HR)

LT Abbitt conducting photogrammetry on the History Shipwreck site, City of Washington, in Key Largo, FL.

April 13
LT Abbitt conducting photogrammetry on the City of Washington, in Key Largo, Florida. (HR)

LT Abbitt conning NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer for outbound transit from Singing River Island.

April 13
LT Abbitt conning NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer for outbound transit from Singing River Island. (HR)

LT Abbitt and her boyfriend, Captain Patrick Vandenabeele, at Fort Jefferson at the Dry Tortugas National Park.

April 13
LT Abbitt and her boyfriend at Fort Jefferson at the Dry Tortugas National Park. (HR)

LT Abbitt with her parents and Captain Patrick Vandenabeele during her permanent change of station on her way to meet NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to begin her Ops sea tour.

April 13
LT Abbitt with family on her way to meet NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to begin her Ops sea tour. (HR)

LT Abbitt recording data during a monitoring event at the Diego grounding site in the Dry Tortugas.

April 13
LT Abbitt recording data during a monitoring event at the Diego grounding site in the Dry Tortugas. (HR)

LT Abbitt free diving to 20 feet to check out some fish and coral at Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area.

April 13
LT Abbitt free diving to 20 feet to check out some fish and coral at Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area. (HR)

LT Abbitt posing for a picture while snorkeling in Key West.

April 13
LT Abbitt posing for a picture while snorkeling in Key West. (HR)

LT Nick Pawlenko, the Gulf of Mexico 1803 Expedition Coordinator, hard at work in the control room aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer.

April 11
LT Nick Pawlenko hard at work in the control room aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. (HR)

ROV Deep Discoverer in the Gulf of Mexico.

April 11
ROV Deep Discoverer in the Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in the Gulf of Mexico.

April 11
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in the Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

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Images (Background Essays)

During the seventh dive of the Gulf of Mexico 2017 expedition, <em>Deep Discoverer</em> explored an unknown shipwreck identified by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management simply as “ID Number 15377.”

Mission Plan
During the seventh dive of the Gulf of Mexico 2017 expedition, Deep Discoverer explored an unknown shipwreck.

Map of the general expedition operating area. The white polygon denotes the Gulf of Mexico 2017/2018 expeditions operating area for the Okeanos Explorer<. The color-coded bathymetry shows cumulative multibeam sonar bathymetry collected previously by the Okeanos Explorer.

Mission Plan
Map of the general expedition operating area. The white polygon denotes the Gulf of Mexico 2017/2018 expeditions operating area.

An aggregation of ice worms inhabiting methane hydrate. These worms eat chemoautotrophic bacteria using chemicals in the hydrate.

Chemosynthetic Communities
An aggregation of ice worms inhabiting methane hydrate. (HR)

An aggregation of Lamellibrachia sp. tubeworms providing habitat for many smaller animals such as the small white anemones covering the tubeworm tubes and the shrimp Alvinocaris muricola. The tiny white spots all around the tubeworms are copepods, tiny swimming crustaceans.

Chemosynthetic Communities
An aggregation of tubeworms providing habitat for many smaller animals such as small white anemones and shrimp. (HR)

Bathymodiolus mussels (both dead and alive) are seen underneath a carbonate overhang. Also visible under this overhang is methane hydrate. Between the mussels, urchins and sea stars can also be seen.

Chemosynthetic Communities
Bathymodiolus mussels are seen underneath a carbonate overhang. (HR)

Orange fly-trap anemone on Lophelia pertusa coral reef at Viosca Knoll near 500 meters depth.

Deep-Sea Coral Habitats in the Gulf of Mexico
Orange fly-trap anemone on Lophelia pertusa coral reef at Viosca Knoll. (HR)

A field of sea fans (Callogorgia sp.) with brittle stars (Asteroschema sp.).

Deep-Sea Coral Habitats in the Gulf of Mexico
A field of sea fans with brittle stars. (HR)

Madrepora oculata colony and with several deep-sea red crab Chaceon quinquedens. The ‘X’ marker was placed by deep-sea researchers in 2010 so they could return to this spot.

Deep-Sea Coral Habitats in the Gulf of Mexico
Madrepora oculata colony and with several deep-sea red crab Chaceon quinquedens. (HR)

A rare instance of deep-sea predation captured on camera, a sea urchin munches on a Plumarella octocoral. This may be the first time sea urchin predation on coral was captured so close-up, thanks to the incredible image capabilities of the Deep Discoverer ROV.

Deep-Sea Coral Habitats in the Gulf of Mexico
Deep-sea predation captured on camera, a sea urchin munches on an octocoral. (HR)

The deepwater environment of the Florida Escarpment proved to be a good habitat for diverse deepwater coral communities. In this image alone, there are four different species of corals, including bubblegum and bamboo corals.

Deep-Sea Coral Habitats in the Gulf of Mexico
The Florida Escarpment proved to be a good habitat for diverse deepwater coral communities. (HR)

Cannon recovered by archaeologists from an early 19th century shipwreck in 4,000 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico.

Shipwrecks
Cannon recovered by archaeologists from an early 19th century shipwreck in 4,000 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

The bow of a ship discovered by Okeanos Explorer in 2012 believed to be a privateer.

Shipwrecks
The bow of a ship discovered by Okeanos Explorer in 2012 believed to be a privateer. (HR)

View inside the conning tower of the German U-boat U-166.

Shipwrecks
View inside the conning tower of the German U-boat, U-166.

A natural extrusion of tar on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.

Shipwrecks
A natural extrusion of tar on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

A dense aggregation of the deep-sea coral Lophelia pertusa at 500 meters (1,640 feet) depth in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf of Mexico Deep-sea Habitat Protections
Dense aggregation of the coral Lophelia pertusa at 500 meters depth in the northern Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

Schematic showing different management categories of fishery resources. The ecological importance and need to manage fishery resources in each category increases from left to right.

Gulf of Mexico Deep-sea Habitat Protections
Schematic showing different management categories of fishery resources.

Photograph of deep-sea coral and a squat lobster on the West Florida Shelf in an area currently being considered for designation as a habitat area of particular concern by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

Gulf of Mexico Deep-sea Habitat Protections
Photograph of deep-sea coral and a squat lobster on the West Florida Shelf. (HR)

Iridigorgia soft coral with squat lobsters in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf of Mexico Deep-sea Habitat Protections
Iridigorgia soft coral with squat lobsters in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

Euplectella aspergillum glass sponge in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf of Mexico Deep-sea Habitat Protections
Euplectella aspergillum glass sponge in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s Mohawk remotely operated vehicle holding a black coral collected in a newly explored areas at Elvers Bank in September 2017.

Gulf of Mexico Deep-sea Habitat Protections
The Mohawk ROV holding a black coral collected in a newly explored areas at Elvers Bank. (HR)

A sample of a potentially new species of black coral (Distichopathes sp.) found in newly explored areas at Elvers Bank. New discoveries are likely as we continue to explore new areas.

Gulf of Mexico Deep-sea Habitat Protections
A sample of a potentially new species of black coral found in newly explored areas at Elvers Bank. (HR)

Map showing the geographic regions in which the Southeast Deep Coral Initiative (SEDCI) will operate in 2016-2019. This area corresponds to the jurisdiction of three fishery management councils, including Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic and Caribbean fishery management councils (GMFMC, SAFMC, CFMC), shown in gray. Areas where deep-sea habitats are protected through fishing restrictions are shown in orange.

SEDCI
Map showing the geographic regions in which the Southeast Deep Coral Initiative (SEDCI) will operate in 2016-2019. (HR)

A dense community of black corals, octocorals, and crinoids at 122 meters (400 feet) depth on Elvers Bank in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. The image was taken during a 2017 SEDCI-supported expedition aboard R/V Manta.

SEDCI
A dense community of black corals, octocorals, and crinoids at 122 meters depth on Elvers Bank in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

Thorny tinselfish, Grammicolepis brachiusculus, swimming above a dense aggregation of Lophelia pertusa and the squat lobster Eumunida picta at 496 meters (1,627 meters) on the West Florida Slope. The image was taken on a 2017 SEDCI-supported expedition aboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster.

SEDCI
Thorny tinselfish swimming above a dense aggregation of Lophelia pertusa and the squat lobster Eumunida picta. (HR)

Diagram of continental drift over the past 225 million years. The red square indicates the position of the early Gulf of Mexico basin after Pangea broke apart into Laurasia and Gondwana.

Geologic Overview
Diagram of continental drift over the past 225 million years. (HR)

Bathymetric map of the northern Gulf of Mexico with the location of the Sigsbee Escarpment, West Florida Escarpment, Mississippi Canyon, and salt domes indicated.

Geologic Overview
Bathymetric map of the northern Gulf of Mexico. (HR)

Oblique projection of northern Gulf of Mexico bathymetry including salt domes and Mississippi Canyon.

Geologic Overview
Oblique projection of northern Gulf of Mexico bathymetry including salt domes and Mississippi Canyon. (HR)

Oblique projection of the West Florida Escarpment.

Geologic Overview
Oblique projection of the West Florida Escarpment. (HR)

 

 

 

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