Deepsea Highlights From The Okeanos Explorer’s Latest Expedition

by | Nov 20, 2018 | Science | 0 comments

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!


  • Joe Rowlett

    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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