Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), researchers on the Nautilus Live expedition came across something they hadn't seen before - a rare, purple siphonophore. Personally, I wasn't aware such a bizarre organism existed until I saw this video. But there it is, scooting across the ocean floor, probably looking for something to eat. It may look like a single organism but it's actually a whole colony of single organisms called zooids. Siphonophores are members of Cnidaria, an animal phylum that includes true jellyfish, corals and hydroids.
Courtesy Kmusser via Wikipedia Creative CommonsHollywood director James Cameron returned safely from a dive that took him nearly seven miles to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Encased in a narrow submersible of his own design, Cameron reached the bottom in an area of the trench known as Challenger Deep after a 2.5 hour descent. He spent three hours exploring the sea bottom using the well-outfitted submarine's cameras and sampling equipment to collect images, fauna, and other data from the silty seabed. The single-person capsule - built to withstand up to 1000 atmospheres of pressure - held up well under the eight tons(!) per square inch that six and a half miles of ocean water exerted upon it. As today goes on, I'm sure more information will come out about this remarkable feat. In the meantime, I'm really anxious to see what images he captured down there, and we'll all get that chance when the National Geographic Society - one of the expedition's sponsors - comes out with a planned future program about the dive.
Courtesy Public domain via WikimediaWatch rare video and read the BBC science report of the bizarre oarfish caught on camera swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. Oarfish (Regalecus glesne) are rarely seen in action and can grow over 50 feet in length. Scroll further down the page for rare video of manefish (Caristius macropus) behavior.
Courtesy Danielle BauerIn the latest census of ocean biodiversity, scientists from the United States and France have counted more than 5000 new species of marine life living in the extreme depths of the Earth's oceans. The zone beneath the 656-foot level - the depth where sunlight no longer reaches - used to be thought of as a "barren zone", but instead is teeming with strange and wonderful creatures that feed on the organic debris that rains down from above. The research is being led by Robert Carney, a professor of oceanography at Louisiana State University.
I surf the web. I read the blogs. I see stuff that looks interesting, and I file it away, They accumulate, they reach critical mass, and they burst forth in full, horrendous flower.
Which is a roundabout way of saying, I’ve seen a few interesting articles on marine life lately, and rather than write three separate posts, I thought I’d wrap them all up into one.
Scientists in Hawaii have discovered a new deep-sea creature with the arms of an octopus and the mantle of a squid. Dubbed “octosquid,” it was caught in the filter of a deep sea pipeline.
Humboldt squid, a giant predator that can grow 7 feet long and weigh up to 110 pounds, has expanded its range into central California. It normally hangs out in tropical waters from Peru to Costa Rica. But fishing pressures have reduced its natural predators – tuna, swordfish and sharks – resulting in a squid population explosion. They have moved north into new territory. Humans, seals, otters and other mammals have nothing to fear, but the squid do eat large amounts of hake, anchovy and other commercial fish.
Check out this photo gallery of weird, cool creatures of the deep.