Deepsea Highlights From The Okeanos Explorer’s Latest Expedition

Joe RowlettBy Joe Rowlett 3 months ago
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Okeanos Explorer Video Bite: Rare Baby Shark Still in Egg Case

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer EX1811 Dive 15 11/15/2018 16:53:33 UTC Depth – 252m Escarpment at Pichincho (popular fishing site) west of Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/explorations/ex1604/welcome.html Scientists discover a very rare find; a shark egg case attached to a coral substrate with a baby shark still inside!

For the past month, NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer has been busily studying the marinelife around Puerto Rico as part of their Océano Profundo 2018 expedition. From “shallow” reefs at 250 meters to the deepest dive ever attempted in the region—5,000 meters into the briny depths around Mona Seamount—the ocean revealed a treasure trove of incredible finds. There were bizarre crustaceans… weird, pulsating jellies… an unprecedented forest of crinoids… a possible new sea star genus… gorgeously colorful anglerfishes…  a rare sighting of a developing shark embryo. And it wasn’t all just deepsea oddities; there were sightings of fishes that should be recognizable to aquarists, like the Red-banded Wrasse (Polylepion sp.) and the true “Apricot Basslet” (Plectranthias garrupellus), and a tiny Bladefin Basslet (Jeboehlkia gladifer). Sadly, this will be the last ROV mission of the year. Okeanos is moving on now to map the continental shelf of the Southeastern United States, which will eventually be explored with their ROVs next May. Following that, they’ll be in the Azores and Mid-Atlantic Ridge in July and the New England Seamounts in August. Yes, it’s going to be a long, cold winter without ROV livestreams, but here are some highlights of the recent expedition to get you through. Enjoy!

Megan McCuller on Twitter

Great imagery by #Okeans of a benthic siphonophore! Siphonophores are colonial organisms related to jellyfish – the most well-known one is the Portuguese man o’ war. They’ve got groups of individuals (zooids) with specific functions like movement, defense, etc. https://t.co/3CRbVGf5qU

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Isopod 4989 m deep at Mona Seamount. #Okeanos

Megan McCuller on Twitter

Cladorhizid (carnivorous) sponge with some interesting morphology. #Okeanos

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Christopher Mah on Twitter

A polychaete (6 cm length) with gold legs and a blue stripe! 4993 m #Okeanos Mona Seamount #Wormwednesday

Ray Simpson on Twitter

Most people may have missed this good fish, but the lead scientists at least mentioned it! This is Jeboehlkia gladifer, and a tiny one at that, right next to the hermit crab #okeanos @oceanexplorer

    

Christopher Mah on Twitter

OH WOW! Crinometra FEATHER STAR FIELD! 347m on #Okeanos Desecho Ridge, Puerto Rico HUNDREDS of them!

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Cerianthid anemone 4957 m deep at Mona Seamount. #Okeanos

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Black coral 4967 m deep at Mona Seamount. #Okeanos

Rene P. Martin on Twitter

Loving the #SaturdayMorningDeepSeaFishes from #okeanos

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Umbellula 4992 m deep at Mona Seamount. #Okeanos

Katie Matthews on Twitter

The claw…THE CLAW!! #okeanos

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Red sponge 321 m deep west of Desecheo Island. #Okeanos

Christopher Mah on Twitter

A very handsome urchin, Calocidaris micans, 255 m, Pichincho Wall east.. cidaroids are thought to be predators on feather stars and other inverts.. #Okeanos

soren ☃️ ? on Twitter

a different but the same and more energetic polychaete @ mona seamount, 5K m ⬇️ #okeanos https://t.co/SFHZI0ZR1n

Ray Simpson on Twitter

Wow this is beautiful! #okeanos #coral

Christopher Mah on Twitter

A scleronephthyid soft coral with ginormous sclerites! 268 m #Okeanos Pichincho Wall East

Cartoon Neuron on Twitter

Well today my SO gets to yell “squat lobster!” at the screen ^_^ #Okeanos (Idk why this is their okeanos live feed tradition, but it’s no weirder than me pretending to be a pencil urchin I guess…)

Ray Simpson on Twitter

I need some FISH #Okeanos ! But until then some brisingid stars will suffice…

David Whittle on Twitter

Okeanos Queen snapper

Maryam A. on Twitter

Crinoid garden, near Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands, depth of ~300 m below surface #Okeanos

Maryam A. on Twitter

A 6 armed sea star that was last seen in 2015, but was not seen for about 130 years before that, near Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands, depth of ~3.4 km below surface #Okeanos

Megan McCuller on Twitter

A sea star actively feeding on a coral – you can see its stomach extended outside its body! @echinoblog #Okeanos

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Hermit crab 324 m deep west of Desecheo Island. #Okeanos

Ray Simpson on Twitter

A fun-filled, diverse #okeanos dive today invert-wise so far but I’m holding out hope for fish as they head into the shallower structure! Fingers crossed for anthiadines! Here’s a pretty young Chaunax thang

Ray Simpson on Twitter

An undescribed species of Plectranthias! #okeanos @oceanexplorer

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Queen snappers, crinoids, sponges, sea urchins, and hermit crab 365 m deep, west of Desecheo. #Okeanos

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Pom pom anemone 434 m deep at Pichincho, west of Puerto Rico. #Okeanos

Megan McCuller on Twitter

A colorful crab with some bright yellow zoanthid buddies. #Okeanos

Megan McCuller on Twitter

It might not be brightly colored, but this corallimorph had a network of beautiful (what looked like) purple iridescence throughout. #Okeanos

Megan McCuller on Twitter

A UFO sponge! (That’s not what it’s actually called…) #Okeanos

Christopher Mah on Twitter

Amazing shots of the super rare HOLOPUS, a kind of stalked crinoid, 418m from Isla de Mona, Puerto Rico #Okeanos of interest to @SBM_Concarneau !

Megan McCuller on Twitter

A colorful, bristly shrimpy – new observation for this expedition. #Okeanos

Audrey Dussutour on Twitter

sea #spiders (pycnogonids), occasionally nicknamed the “no-bodies” have such tiny abdomens that their guts extend into their legs. Their genitals are on the legs, which makes mating…well, acrobatic. #naturelovers #arthropods #biodiversity #ocean (c) Okeanos Explorer https://t.co/nr1PONV4N8

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Orange sea star 436 m deep at Pichincho west of Puerto Rico. #Okeanos

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Catshark and Queen Snapper, 438 m deep at Pichincho, west of Puerto Rico. #Okeanos

Christopher Mah on Twitter

oh NICE! Plinthaster dentatus, goniasterid sea star FEEDING on this sponge! NOM NOM! 323 m #Okeanos Bajo de Sico

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Fishes, sponges, and echinoderms, around 350 m deep north of Bajo de Sico. #Okeanos

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Sea star 2395 m deep on the east side of Mona Canyon. #Okeanos

Тэ дрэвэт утвикλэрэн on Twitter

Wormhenge! #okeanos

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Stalked crinoid 455 m deep at Pichincho, west of Puerto RIco. #Okeanos

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Goniasterid sea star 255 m deep west of Puerto Rico. #Okeanos

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Sea star 251 m deep west of Desecheo Island. #Okeanos

Megan McCuller on Twitter

A pancake urchin moving about! #Okeanos https://t.co/xwIdUApH42

asia murphy, alucard’s godmom on Twitter

ahhhh toothy boi #okeanos https://t.co/IQv63pCbRP

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Anemone, 364 m deep west of Desecheo Island. #Okeanos

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Squid 365 m deep at Pichincho Wall, west of Puerto Rico. #Okeanos

Christopher Mah on Twitter

An interesting sleeze of euplectellid glass sponges! 408 m, Isla de Mona escarpment, #Okeanos today!

Ray Simpson on Twitter

Polylepion n. sp. doing a Fido impression! #okeanos almost #wrassewednesday

Christopher Mah on Twitter

A slit shell snail at 410 m #Pleurotammaridae #Okeanos Isla de Mona escarpment

Megan McCuller on Twitter

What a nice and curly brisingid! #Okeanos

Maryam A. on Twitter

Holothurian, near Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands, depth of ~3.4 km below surface #Okeanos

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Bathysaurus 3324 m deep at the Vega Baja Landslide north of Puerto Rico. #Okeanos

Christopher Mah on Twitter

Multi-taxon assemblage! Calocidaris, along with a feather star in the foreground and what might be a xenophyophore (protist) 363 m #Okeanos Bajo de Sico

Christopher Mah on Twitter

A striking gorgonocephalid ‘basket star” #Ophiuroid at 410 m Isla de Mona Escarpment, #Okeanos

Christopher Mah on Twitter

A gorgeous brisingid, possibly the genus Hymenodiscus, about 2150 m #Okeanos Mona Canyon east

Christopher Mah on Twitter

ooo! I think the serpent star is Hemieuryale pustulata! interesting! #Okeanos 413 m Isla de Mona escarpment

Christopher Mah on Twitter

A farreid glass sponge! 2320 m on #Okeanos today in Mona Canyon east!

Christopher Mah on Twitter

And we end today’s dive with this lovely stalked crinoid at 2615 m! #Okeanos Jaguey Spur

Christopher Mah on Twitter

YOWEE!! A likely new genus, species of goniasterid sea star! 2650 m #Okeanos Jaguey Spur!

Tara Harmer Luke on Twitter

Interesting benthic ctenophore 2737 m deep southwest of Puerto Rico at Jaguey Spur. #Okeanos

Megan McCuller on Twitter

An armored searobin showing off its walking “legs” which are really modified fin rays. #Okeanos https://t.co/nazSHVO2zZ

Megan McCuller on Twitter

Did you know that giant isopods are pretty good swimmers? #Okeanos https://t.co/nqXlngqYwM

Megan McCuller on Twitter

A pancake urchin in the genus Phormosoma. This one has a lot of inflated sacs! @echinoblog #Okeanos

Karen Yip on Twitter

A #jellyfish! Just amazing. But pssst: we can see your private parts ?? #troublewithbeingtransparent #okeanos

Katie Matthews on Twitter

Crab be crazy #okeanos

  

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Joe Rowlett
About

 Joe Rowlett

  (470 articles)

Joe is classically trained in the zoological arts and sciences, with a particular focus on the esoterica of invertebrate taxonomy and evolution. He’s written for several aquarium publications and for many years lorded over the marinelife at Chicago’s venerable Old Town Aquarium. He currently studies prairie insect ecology at the Field Museum of Natural History and fish phylogenetics at the University of Chicago.

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