Fascinating Biology Off the Haitian Coast

While exploring the area off of Haiti, Navassa Island has proved to hold a wide range of interesting sea life. From sea cucumbers and sponges, to multicolored fish, the waters here are teeming with life.

The ROVs have been busy collecting rock, coral, water, and push core samples, and even though this journey may be focused on geology, the biology never ceases to fascinate the scientist. Here are some of the creatures we have seen in the last few dives of the Windward Passage leg of the expedition.

(via: Nautilus Live)

images: Sea Urchin, Anemone, Pelagic Swimming Sea Cucumber, Glass Sponge, and Sea Pig (Ocean Exploration Trust)

Ocean Exploration Trust)
Mistaken Identity: ‘Sea Anemone’ Is Actually New Type of Animal
by Elizabeth Howell
Lurking in the deep sea is a marine creature thought to be one of the world’s largest sea anemones. But the animal, which has tentacles measuring more than 6 feet (2 meters) long, isn’t an anemone but rather the first known organism in a new order of animals, according to new research.
In the four-year study, researchers created a “tree of life” for sea anemones, which are sometimes called “flowers of the sea” but are actually stationary meat-eating animals. In doing so, they examined the DNA of Boloceroides daphneae — discovered in 2006 in the deep Pacific Ocean — and found the creature stood out as not fitting on the sea anemone tree of life at all.
Researchers have now renamed the species Relicanthus daphneae, placing it into a new order (the equivalent of Carnivoria for mammals, Crocodilia for reptiles or Actiniaria for sea anemones) within the subclass Hexacorallia, which also includes anemones, black corals and stony corals…
(read more: Live Science)
photograph: Credit: ©NERC CHESSO project

Mistaken Identity: ‘Sea Anemone’ Is Actually New Type of Animal

by Elizabeth Howell

Lurking in the deep sea is a marine creature thought to be one of the world’s largest sea anemones. But the animal, which has tentacles measuring more than 6 feet (2 meters) long, isn’t an anemone but rather the first known organism in a new order of animals, according to new research.

In the four-year study, researchers created a “tree of life” for sea anemones, which are sometimes called “flowers of the sea” but are actually stationary meat-eating animals. In doing so, they examined the DNA of Boloceroides daphneae — discovered in 2006 in the deep Pacific Ocean — and found the creature stood out as not fitting on the sea anemone tree of life at all.

Researchers have now renamed the species Relicanthus daphneae, placing it into a new order (the equivalent of Carnivoria for mammals, Crocodilia for reptiles or Actiniaria for sea anemones) within the subclass Hexacorallia, which also includes anemones, black corals and stony corals…

(read more: Live Science)

photograph: Credit: ©NERC CHESSO project

Symbiosis is the interaction between two different organisms living in close association.
Symbiotic relationships are an important component of life in the ocean. In such relationships, plants or animals of different species may be dependent on one another for survival. They may share habitats or lifestyles or interact in a specific way to benefit from the presence of another organism.
When two organisms are in a symbiotic relationship, sometimes both organisms benefit (mutualism) and other times one organism may benefit while another is unaffected (commensalism). If one of the organisms is completely dependent on the other, it is called an obligate relationship; if the relationship is preferred, but not dependent, it is a facultative relationship. And, not all symbioses are positive for both organisms: in a parasitic relationship, one member benefits while the “host” is harmed…
(read more: NOAA Ocean Explorer)
image: Hermit crabs are often found inhabiting shells decorated with anemones or other sessile animals, which offer added protection and camouflage. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition.

Symbiosis is the interaction between two different organisms living in close association.

Symbiotic relationships are an important component of life in the ocean. In such relationships, plants or animals of different species may be dependent on one another for survival. They may share habitats or lifestyles or interact in a specific way to benefit from the presence of another organism.

When two organisms are in a symbiotic relationship, sometimes both organisms benefit (mutualism) and other times one organism may benefit while another is unaffected (commensalism). If one of the organisms is completely dependent on the other, it is called an obligate relationship; if the relationship is preferred, but not dependent, it is a facultative relationship. And, not all symbioses are positive for both organisms: in a parasitic relationship, one member benefits while the “host” is harmed…

(read more: NOAA Ocean Explorer)

image: Hermit crabs are often found inhabiting shells decorated with anemones or other sessile animals, which offer added protection and camouflage. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition.

dendroica

libutron:

Anemone - Bolocera tuediae | ©Tony J. Gilbert

Bolocera tuediae is large sea anemone that can grow up to 300mm across tentacles. This large and distinctive anemone is capable of shedding its tentacles, pinching them off by muscular action, hence the groove at their bases. The reason for this is unknown.

Generally distributed throughout the north Atlantic, north to the Arctic Circle and east to north America, this species is recorded from all coasts of Britain but rare in south. 

The specimen shown is 25 cm in diameter. It was photographed in St.Abbs, Eyemouth, Scotland, UK. 

Cnidaria - Anthozoa - Actiniaria - Actiniidae - Bolocera - B. tuediae

More information.


2013 National Geographic Photo Contest Winners:
(Nature category) - An over/under water split level image of beautiful crimson red waratah anemones in a rock pool at low tide in Australia. What I really love about over/under photographs is that it gives the underwater element a sense of place. For the viewer it marries the underwater environment with our own familiar world. It links the unknown with the known.
Photo and caption by Matt Smith
(via: the Boston Globe)

2013 National Geographic Photo Contest Winners:

(Nature category) - An over/under water split level image of beautiful crimson red waratah anemones in a rock pool at low tide in Australia. What I really love about over/under photographs is that it gives the underwater element a sense of place. For the viewer it marries the underwater environment with our own familiar world. It links the unknown with the known.

Photo and caption by Matt Smith

(via: the Boston Globe)


Norway’s Spooky Seafloor Vents: Hotspot for Life
by Megan Gannon
The hydrothermal chimneys and wildlife around the vents called Soria Moria are located roughly 2,300 feet (700 meter) below the surface, about 60 miles (100 km) east of Jan Mayen, a remote Norwegian volcanic island in the Arctic Ocean.
(read more about these vents)                    (via: Live Science)
image via: Center for Geobiology, University of Bergen

Norway’s Spooky Seafloor Vents: Hotspot for Life

by Megan Gannon

The hydrothermal chimneys and wildlife around the vents called Soria Moria are located roughly 2,300 feet (700 meter) below the surface, about 60 miles (100 km) east of Jan Mayen, a remote Norwegian volcanic island in the Arctic Ocean.

(read more about these vents)                    (via: Live Science)

image via: Center for Geobiology, University of Bergen

Development of the Starlet Anemone
This alien-looking creature is known as Nematostella vectensis, or the starlet sea anemone. Like other anemones, starlets start life as free-swimming larvae. They then settle into an appropriately mucky spot on the seafloor and metamorphose into their adult polyp form, seen here.
Anemones lack brains, but the section of the larvae containing the sensory organs actually becomes the bulbous root end of the adult, while the other side sprouts delicate tentacles and transforms into a filter-feeding mouth.
Researchers have now found that the “head genes” of N. vectensis, though held in what eventually becomes the animal’s “foot,” correspond to the head genes found in the actual heads of higher animals. Humans and other brainy beasts share a common, brainless, ancestor with sea anemones that lived 600 million to 700 million years ago. The findings were released Feb. 20, 2013 in the journal PLOS Biology.
photo credit: Nature, 2005
(via: Live Science)

Development of the Starlet Anemone

This alien-looking creature is known as Nematostella vectensis, or the starlet sea anemone. Like other anemones, starlets start life as free-swimming larvae. They then settle into an appropriately mucky spot on the seafloor and metamorphose into their adult polyp form, seen here.

Anemones lack brains, but the section of the larvae containing the sensory organs actually becomes the bulbous root end of the adult, while the other side sprouts delicate tentacles and transforms into a filter-feeding mouth.

Researchers have now found that the “head genes” of N. vectensis, though held in what eventually becomes the animal’s “foot,” correspond to the head genes found in the actual heads of higher animals. Humans and other brainy beasts share a common, brainless, ancestor with sea anemones that lived 600 million to 700 million years ago. The findings were released Feb. 20, 2013 in the journal PLOS Biology.

photo credit: Nature, 2005

(via: Live Science)

A sea anemone and hermit crab share a snail shell, providing a wonderful example of mutualism. The anemone (like all cnidarians) has stinging cells that help protect the crab from predators; and benefits from having a free ride around the seafloor habitat, as well as receiving scraps from the crab’s feeding activities. When the crab outgrows its borrowed shell, it finds a larger vacant shell… and brings the anemone along to share its new home.
Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010.
Find out more about NOAA’s deep sea exploration.

A sea anemone and hermit crab share a snail shell, providing a wonderful example of mutualism. The anemone (like all cnidarians) has stinging cells that help protect the crab from predators; and benefits from having a free ride around the seafloor habitat, as well as receiving scraps from the crab’s feeding activities. When the crab outgrows its borrowed shell, it finds a larger vacant shell… and brings the anemone along to share its new home.

Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010.

Find out more about NOAA’s deep sea exploration.

Cup corals (Desmophyllum) grow around an anemone on a mud-covered ledge. During the Deepwater Canyons 2013 expedition, scientists collected cup coral specimens to help them understand the factors that influence the distribution of this species and perhaps even solve the mystery of differences observed between the deep and shallow populations. Learn more: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/13midatlantic/logs/may17/may17.html
(via: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research)

Cup corals (Desmophyllum) grow around an anemone on a mud-covered ledge. During the Deepwater Canyons 2013 expedition, scientists collected cup coral specimens to help them understand the factors that influence the distribution of this species and perhaps even solve the mystery of differences observed between the deep and shallow populations.

Learn more: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/13midatlantic/logs/may17/may17.html

(via: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research)

astronomy-to-zoology

astronomy-to-zoology:

Pom-pom Anemone (Liponema brevicornis)

Also known as the tentacle shedding anemone, the pom-pom anemone is a species of sea anemone found in deep water in the north east Pacific. Like other anemones the pom-pom anemone is a carnivore and will attempt to eat any small animals unfortunate enough to swim into its tentacles. Pom-pom anemones are also fed on by sea spiders who steal tentacles from it. Although it usually lives a sessile lifestyle, the pom-pom anemone does not attach its self to a substrate and it can roll itself up like a rug and drift with the current like a tumbleweed, stopping when it reaches a solid object. 

Phylogeny

Animalia-Cnidaria-Anthozoa-Hexacorallia-Actiniaria-Nyantheae-Thenaria-Liponematidae-Liponema-brevicornis

Image Source(s)