Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)
Last week, using ROV Ventana, the Biodiversity and Bioptics lab, led by Steve Haddock, came across this beautiful large narcomedusa hundreds of meters deep in the Monterey Canyon. 
This jelly, an undescribed species of Aegina, has six tentacles and a reddish/purple gut from the prey it has eaten. Scientists have wondered if having six tentacles instead of the usual four found in this genus was like finding a four-leafed clover (instead of the usual three). However, genetic studies at MBARI have shown that it is a distinct species. This jelly, along with other species of Aegina are now on display in the “Jellies Experience” exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Last week, using ROV Ventana, the Biodiversity and Bioptics lab, led by Steve Haddock, came across this beautiful large narcomedusa hundreds of meters deep in the Monterey Canyon.

This jelly, an undescribed species of Aegina, has six tentacles and a reddish/purple gut from the prey it has eaten. Scientists have wondered if having six tentacles instead of the usual four found in this genus was like finding a four-leafed clover (instead of the usual three). However, genetic studies at MBARI have shown that it is a distinct species.

This jelly, along with other species of Aegina are now on display in the “Jellies Experience” exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Deep Sea Chimaera

Our Deepwater Backyard: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts 2014 (September 27, 2014)

Chimaera spotted while exploring a seamount within the Atlantis II Seamount Complex.

Video courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.


Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI):
Siphonophores are an abundant member of the community of gelatinous zooplankton living in the deep midwater.
There is a tremendous variety in size and shapes within the group: some siphonophores touting the title as longest animals in the world, with specimens reaching over 120 feet in length. The Biodiversity and Bioptics lab returned from their Western Flyer expedition with some amazing video, images, and samples of many siphonophores. There was a thousand-fold range in size of siphonophores they collected: this Apolemia lanosa can be 5 meters long, while the tiny calycophoran is only 5 millimeters — much smaller than the diameter of a dime.
This baby Chuniphyes moserae was spotted using the high-definition camera on ROV Doc Ricketts, and then captured in a detritus sampler, a true testament to the abilities of our ROV pilots. The skill and ease with which they gently sample many of these microscopic, transparent animals is one of the many way that makes working on the Western Flyer such a pleasure and so scientifically rewarding. We could not successfully sample and observe the diversity of midwater animals without the tireless and enthusiastic efforts of the crew and ROV pilots!
photo: Apolemia lanosa, can stretch to over 20 feet in length, increasing the area over which it can capture small prey in its tentacles
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI):

Siphonophores are an abundant member of the community of gelatinous zooplankton living in the deep midwater.

There is a tremendous variety in size and shapes within the group: some siphonophores touting the title as longest animals in the world, with specimens reaching over 120 feet in length. The Biodiversity and Bioptics lab returned from their Western Flyer expedition with some amazing video, images, and samples of many siphonophores. There was a thousand-fold range in size of siphonophores they collected: this Apolemia lanosa can be 5 meters long, while the tiny calycophoran is only 5 millimeters — much smaller than the diameter of a dime.

This baby Chuniphyes moserae was spotted using the high-definition camera on ROV Doc Ricketts, and then captured in a detritus sampler, a true testament to the abilities of our ROV pilots. The skill and ease with which they gently sample many of these microscopic, transparent animals is one of the many way that makes working on the Western Flyer such a pleasure and so scientifically rewarding. We could not successfully sample and observe the diversity of midwater animals without the tireless and enthusiastic efforts of the crew and ROV pilots!

photo: Apolemia lanosa, can stretch to over 20 feet in length, increasing the area over which it can capture small prey in its tentacles

griseus

griseus:

FIRST IMAGES OF SEAMOUNTS FROM CANARY ISLANDS.

An investigation by Oceana, has documented and imaged seamounts of northern Canary Islands, Dacia and Triton seamounts. The images obtained show extensive forests of black corals on the summit of Dacia, and a great diversity of sponges on the slopes of Tritón, including spectacular glass sponges and carnivorous sponges, as well as different gorgonians, corals, deep sea fish and sharks etc.

The research is being carried out by means of ROV dives, documenting from the summit of Dacia, about 100 metres below the surface, to a depth of almost 1,000 metres on the slopes of Tritón. These mountains are located 190 nm and 110 nm to the north of the island of La Graciosa, respectively. They are more than 2,000 m in height and rise up from a sea bed with a depth of 3,000 metres. Tritón has two peaks and stretches out to a length of around 60 kilometres, while Dacia has a diameter of just over 20 km.

These mountains could be considered as the ‘other’ Canary Islands, some of which, though now submerged, at one time rose up out of the sea, says Helena Álvarez, marine scientist at Oceana. “Spain should study and protect these seamounts so that, together with Portugal, it could provide Europe with an extensive marine protected area where dozens of seamounts would be home to one of the richest and most diverse faunas on the planet.”

  • Photo: Fishes Mediterranean moray (Muraena helena) in black coral (Stichopathes sp.) field. Oven’s Halosaur (Halosaurus ovenii). Arrowhead Dogfish (Deania profundorum). Facciola’s Sorcerer (Facciolella oxyrhyncha) Toadfish (Chaunax suttkusi) and Common mora (Mora moroand invertebrate Black coral (Bathypathes patula) Carnivorous sponge (Chondrocladia sp.) and deep sea coral (Narella sp.) - all pic by OCEANA
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
You may have recently seen images on the internet of a strange siphonophore observed on a Nautilus Live expedition. That specimen, while strikingly purple, was one that is well-known to deep-sea scientists. This animal got its purple color (and more typically black) from the fish that it eats. In fact, earlier this week, scientists on the R/V Western Flyer collected an individual from the same genus. One species in the group has been shown to use bioluminescent lures to attract its prey, and other species are under investigation.  Although the type shown in that viral video is relatively well documented, most of the siphonophore species in the ocean are found in the deep-sea and are poorly known due to the difficulty in sampling these delicate animals from the deep sea. MBARI scientist Steve Haddock and his collaborators study this group because the many remarkable shapes, sizes, colors, and bioluminescence capabilities can help in understanding evolution in the deep-sea, the chemical processes involved in bioluminescence, predator-prey interactions, and biodiversity in the deep midwater. This undescribed physonect, called the galaxy siphonophore by Haddock and his collaborators, is one of the more spectacular of the deep-living species observed this week on the R/V Western Flyer. It is often found in this spiral shape, casting its many tentacles all around like a spider in its web.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

You may have recently seen images on the internet of a strange siphonophore observed on a Nautilus Live expedition. That specimen, while strikingly purple, was one that is well-known to deep-sea scientists. This animal got its purple color (and more typically black) from the fish that it eats. In fact, earlier this week, scientists on the R/V Western Flyer collected an individual from the same genus. One species in the group has been shown to use bioluminescent lures to attract its prey, and other species are under investigation.

Although the type shown in that viral video is relatively well documented, most of the siphonophore species in the ocean are found in the deep-sea and are poorly known due to the difficulty in sampling these delicate animals from the deep sea. MBARI scientist Steve Haddock and his collaborators study this group because the many remarkable shapes, sizes, colors, and bioluminescence capabilities can help in understanding evolution in the deep-sea, the chemical processes involved in bioluminescence, predator-prey interactions, and biodiversity in the deep midwater.

This undescribed physonect, called the galaxy siphonophore by Haddock and his collaborators, is one of the more spectacular of the deep-living species observed this week on the R/V Western Flyer. It is often found in this spiral shape, casting its many tentacles all around like a spider in its web.

ROV (remote operated vehicle) Deep Discoverer’s lights drew a swarm of small crustaceans, in a canyon off the Atlantic coast of the United States. This anemone took full advantage of the free meal. Here, amphipods are captured by the specially adapted stinging cells, called nematocysts, on the anemone’s tentacles.
Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Our Deepwater Backyard: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts, 2014.

ROV (remote operated vehicle) Deep Discoverer’s lights drew a swarm of small crustaceans, in a canyon off the Atlantic coast of the United States. This anemone took full advantage of the free meal. Here, amphipods are captured by the specially adapted stinging cells, called nematocysts, on the anemone’s tentacles.

Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Our Deepwater Backyard: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts, 2014.

A deep-sea red crab (Chaceon quinquedens) hangs out on a bubblegum coral, in Norfolk Canyon, off the Atlantic Coast of the United States. If you look carefully, you can see a skate egg case on the same branch as the crab and a colony of the white morph of bubblegum coral in the background.
Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Our Deepwater Backyard: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts - 2014.

A deep-sea red crab (Chaceon quinquedens) hangs out on a bubblegum coral, in Norfolk Canyon, off the Atlantic Coast of the United States. If you look carefully, you can see a skate egg case on the same branch as the crab and a colony of the white morph of bubblegum coral in the background.

Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Our Deepwater Backyard: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts - 2014.

Our Deepwater Backyard: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts 2014

September 7, 2014: Predation Events

Swarms of squid were seen while diving in Norfolk Canyon, off the Atlantic Coast of the U.S.; the squid were feeding and being fed upon. This video captures one attempted, but unsuccessful, predation event where a red crab fails to grab a squid that is swimming by and one successful predation event where a monkfish gobbles up a squid.

Video courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.

Find out more about this expedition:

NOAA Ocean Explorer - Canyons and Seamounts, 2014

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute:

Comb jellies are beautiful gelatinous animals that live throughout the world’s oceans.

They have ‘combs,’ or rows of cilia which are used to swim. Some have tentacles, some have lobes, some have neither, but all ctenophores have eight comb rows at some point in their life. Ctenophores are hard to figure out from photos — they are usually perceived “backwards” from their natural orientation since the mouth is on the “front”, and does not trail behind like in a typical pulsing jellyfish.

Ctenophores are predators using a variety of strategies, and live from top to bottom. There is even a group of ctenophores that live just above the seafloor. They attach to the tube or stalk of a benthic animal, using a notch in their mouth. Safely secured, they cast out their tentacles behind them in the current to catch small prey floating near the sediment.

Ctenophores are important to understanding the early evolution of animals and how complex forms and systems evolved, since they split off from other animals near the time when multicellular organisms originated. The Biodiversity and Bioptics lab has been studying this fascinating group this week on the R/V Western Flyer and have captured some amazing images of a variety of ctenophores.

images:

T - undescribed lobate ctenophore, closely related to Lampocteis

B - undescribed species, w/ 2 long tentacles, depths of over 3,000 m