NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer just wrapped up a month-long expedition to the Musicians Seamounts north of Hawaii and managed to capture some truly awe-inspiring footage of the region’s abundant coral biodiversity. There were dense underwater jungles of precious coral (Hemicorallium), twirling spirals of Iridogorgia, massive white fans of Paracalyptrophora, and billowing formations of Poliopogon sponges, to name just a few of the many highlights.
The Musicians Seamounts are named after famous composers (Mozart, Liszt, Paganini, Mussorgsky, Verdi, Shostakovich, etc.), and NOAA has just released a wonderful new video featuring these recent finds which, fittingly enough, they set to a classical soundtrack. Some of the more exotic clips to keep an eye out for are a gigantic sea spider preying upon a rather helpless anemone, as well as the peculiar little jelly (Aeginona sp.) preying upon a coral. Who knew there were murderous coral-devouring jellies in the ocean?!
Sadly, it is with a heavy heart that I must report this will be the last journey for Okeanos this year. We’ve been following their exploits for months now, as the crew snaked across the Central Pacific from American Samoa to Johnston Atoll and up into the Musicians. But there’s surely plenty left to discover out there in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, so we’ll all be eagerly anticipating their return in 2018.