Gonatus onyx
Based on decades of observations, marine biologists assumed that all squids laid their eggs in clusters on the sea floor, where the eggs developed and hatched without any help from their parents. However, through observations of the deep-sea squid Gonatus onyx using MBARI’s ROVs, scientists learned that females brood their eggs, carrying the eggs between their arms until the young hatch and swim away. 
Read more about this amazing adaptation here: MBARI  This female Gonatus onyx squid was observed at nearly 2,000 m depth swimming slowly through the water, carrying her sack of eggs. Because they cannot swim very quickly, brooding squid may be easy prey for deep diving marine mammals.
(via: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

Gonatus onyx

Based on decades of observations, marine biologists assumed that all squids laid their eggs in clusters on the sea floor, where the eggs developed and hatched without any help from their parents. However, through observations of the deep-sea squid Gonatus onyx using MBARI’s ROVs, scientists learned that females brood their eggs, carrying the eggs between their arms until the young hatch and swim away.

Read more about this amazing adaptation here: MBARI

This female Gonatus onyx squid was observed at nearly 2,000 m depth swimming slowly through the water, carrying her sack of eggs. Because they cannot swim very quickly, brooding squid may be easy prey for deep diving marine mammals.

(via: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

The vampire squid’s latin name, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, literally translates to “vampire squid from hell”. It is unclear why it has such a foreboding name. It is not the voracious predator that you might think. Recent research at MBARI revealed that unlike its relatives the octopuses and squids, which eat live prey, the vampire squid uses two thread-like filaments to capture bits of organic debris that sink down from the ocean surface into the deep sea.

Read more about the research and watch a video about it here.

(via: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

The Swordtail Squid, Chiroteuthis calyx

… is only found in temperate waters of the North Pacific. In Monterey Bay, they are relatively common in the midwater between 300 and 600 m, but have been observed at depths over 1,000 m. The transparent body reveals their internal organs.

In this close up view of C. calyx, you can see the photophore, or light organ under its large eye. You can also see the “teeth” on the suckers of the tentacle club. The teeth on the suckers at the end of the two feeding tentacles are used to snag and hold onto the prey.

(via: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

(photos: 1, 2)

Cold, dark and lonely: Deep-water corals thrive where the sun never shines

by John Barrat

Mention coral reefs and images like snorkeling, tropical fish and sunny island getaways pop to mind. Vacation packages are not being offered, however, for many of the destinations Smithsonian taxonomist Stephen Cairns visits to gather the cold-water corals that are his specialty. And forget about snorkeling, these coral live where it is very deep and very dark.

“Cold-water corals are much different than shallow-water corals in that most are loners, they are solitary and don’t live in colonies,” Cairns explains. Only about a dozen of the 700 known species of cold-water corals live in colonies and form coral banks [deep-water reefs]. “Most cold-water coral live alone on the ocean bottom with one tiny coral over here, sometimes just a millimeter in diameter, and the next one maybe 30 feet away,” Cairns says.

Awareness of cold-water corals is growing but remains surprisingly low among the scientific community and is almost non-existent in the general public, Cairns says. Here Smithsonian Science asks Cairns, whose laboratory is in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., more about these often overlooked marine invertebrates…

(read more: http://smithsonianscience.org/2014/03/cold-dark-and-lonely-deep-water-corals-thrive-where-the-sun-never-shines/)

photo: Hawaii Deep-Sea Coral Expedition/NOAA and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources photo

NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
Today we bring you a finned octopus, Cirroteuthis muelleri, seen in the Arctic in 2005. These octopods are technically known as cirrates, but they are sometimes called “dumbos” because their large fins make them look like flying cartoon elephants flapping their ears. They are among the largest organisms of the deep sea, with species seen in the Canada Basin can grow to 1.5 meters in length. Learn more about these critters: Ocean Explorer - Arctic - 2005 Or check out more octopus pics: OE Octopus Pics

Today we bring you a finned octopus, Cirroteuthis muelleri, seen in the Arctic in 2005. These octopods are technically known as cirrates, but they are sometimes called “dumbos” because their large fins make them look like flying cartoon elephants flapping their ears. They are among the largest organisms of the deep sea, with species seen in the Canada Basin can grow to 1.5 meters in length.

Learn more about these critters: Ocean Explorer - Arctic - 2005

Or check out more octopus pics: OE Octopus Pics

The  cnidarian jellies in the class Scyphozoa include most of the species that people think of when hearing the word “jellyfish.” Poralia rufescens is one of the most common deep-sea scyphozoans we observe in Monterey Bay. This jellyfish is usually found in the benthopelagic zone, an area within 100 m of the seafloor. It has a wide depth range, from a few hundred m to over 3,000 m (nearly 2 mi). Large individuals can be more than 12 in in diameter.
(via: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

The cnidarian jellies in the class Scyphozoa include most of the species that people think of when hearing the word “jellyfish.” Poralia rufescens is one of the most common deep-sea scyphozoans we observe in Monterey Bay. This jellyfish is usually found in the benthopelagic zone, an area within 100 m of the seafloor. It has a wide depth range, from a few hundred m to over 3,000 m (nearly 2 mi). Large individuals can be more than 12 in in diameter.

(via: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

The mushroom coral, Anthomastus ritteri, lives off the coast of California and Mexico to depths as great as 3,000 meters (nearly 2 miles). It is a soft coral in the subclass Octocorallia. Octocorals resemble the stony corals, but lack the distinctive stony skeleton. They have polyps with only eight tentacles. Those showy tentacles contain poisonous stinging cells that capture tiny animals drifting by. It gets its name because when the polyps are pulled in, it looks like a mushroom. This individual was observed by MBARI’s ROV Tiburon at a depth of 1460 m on Davidson Seamount, 70 nautical mi SW of Monterey, CA, USA.
(via: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

The mushroom coral, Anthomastus ritteri, lives off the coast of California and Mexico to depths as great as 3,000 meters (nearly 2 miles). It is a soft coral in the subclass Octocorallia. Octocorals resemble the stony corals, but lack the distinctive stony skeleton. They have polyps with only eight tentacles. Those showy tentacles contain poisonous stinging cells that capture tiny animals drifting by. It gets its name because when the polyps are pulled in, it looks like a mushroom.

This individual was observed by MBARI’s ROV Tiburon at a depth of 1460 m on Davidson Seamount, 70 nautical mi SW of Monterey, CA, USA.

(via: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
 Did you know that NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer is America’s first and only federally funded ship dedicated to ocean exploration and discovery?
The ship is equipped with telepresence technology that allows scientists to participate in expeditions without ever leaving the (dry) comfort of their own labs. This means that the number of scientists who can provide input and conduct “at-sea” research isn’t limited by the space available on the ship. We received input from more than 40 scientists in planning the 2013 Gulf expedition, and we expect that these scientists and many others will participate at some point over the course of the expedition. And of course, the same technology that allows scientists to participate virtually also means that YOU can tune in and follow the action, so get ready… 13 days until the expedition starts!About the image:  Spider Crab seen while exploring near the Sigsbee Escarpment in the Gulf of Mexico in 2012. 

*We’ll be heading back to the escarpment again this year and while every adventure is different, for a taste of what we saw last time, check out this highlights video: 

http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/explorations/ex1202/logs/dailyupdates/media/movies/highlights0424_video.html

 Did you know that NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer is America’s first and only federally funded ship dedicated to ocean exploration and discovery?

The ship is equipped with telepresence technology that allows scientists to participate in expeditions without ever leaving the (dry) comfort of their own labs. This means that the number of scientists who can provide input and conduct “at-sea” research isn’t limited by the space available on the ship. We received input from more than 40 scientists in planning the 2013 Gulf expedition, and we expect that these scientists and many others will participate at some point over the course of the expedition.

And of course, the same technology that allows scientists to participate virtually also means that YOU can tune in and follow the action, so get ready… 13 days until the expedition starts!

About the image:  Spider Crab seen while exploring near the Sigsbee Escarpment in the Gulf of Mexico in 2012.
*We’ll be heading back to the escarpment again this year and while every adventure is different, for a taste of what we saw last time, check out this highlights video:
The barreleye fish, Macropinna microstoma, has tubular eyes (the green globes in the image) and a transparent shield protecting its upward-looking eyes. The glasshead barreleye fish, Rhynchohyalus natalensis, is a closely related species which is not found here in the Northeast Pacific. Recently, scientists discovered that the glasshead barreleye fish’s eyes, which are cylindrical with a conventi…onal refractive lens on top, also have a second retina. Bioluminescence from deep-sea prey enters through a cornea and hits a separate silvery surface, to be focused on the second retina. The fish can therefore see objects above it with its conventional cylindrical eye, and detect other deep-sea creatures to the side and below via the reflector eye looking sideways. Read more about these amazing eyes:http://ow.ly/uU3Ic You can also see our YouTube video about the barreleye here http://ow.ly/uU3BE
The barreleye fish, Macropinna microstoma, has tubular eyes (the green globes in the image) and a transparent shield protecting its upward-looking eyes. The glasshead barreleye fish, Rhynchohyalus natalensis, is a closely related species which is not found here in the Northeast Pacific.

Recently, scientists discovered that the glasshead barreleye fish’s eyes, which are cylindrical with a conventional refractive lens on top, also have a second retina. Bioluminescence from deep-sea prey enters through a cornea and hits a separate silvery surface, to be focused on the second retina. The fish can therefore see objects above it with its conventional cylindrical eye, and detect other deep-sea creatures to the side and below via the reflector eye looking sideways. Read more about these amazing eyes:
http://ow.ly/uU3Ic

You can also see our YouTube video about the barreleye here http://ow.ly/uU3BE
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)
Happy Taxonomist Appreciation Day! While exploring the deep sea over the last 25 years, MBARI researchers have discovered and helped describe many new species, here are just a few: Clockwise from upper left: The big-fin squid, Magnapinna pacifica; bumpy jelly, Stellamedusa ventana; big red jelly, Tiburonia granrojo; bone-eating worms, Osedax spp.; the harp sponge, Chondrocladia lyra, the green siphonophore, Lilyopsis fluoracantha. Read more about all of these and more discoveries at www.mbari.org.

Happy Taxonomist Appreciation Day! While exploring the deep sea over the last 25 years, MBARI researchers have discovered and helped describe many new species, here are just a few:

Clockwise from upper left: The big-fin squid, Magnapinna pacifica; bumpy jelly, Stellamedusa ventana; big red jelly, Tiburonia granrojo; bone-eating worms, Osedax spp.; the harp sponge, Chondrocladia lyra, the green siphonophore, Lilyopsis fluoracantha.

Read more about all of these and more discoveries at www.mbari.org.

The  sea cucumber, Oneirophanta mutabilis, is found on the seafloor at depths ranging from 1,800 - 6,000 m (over 19,000 ft). 
It was first described by the Swedish zoologist Hjalmar Théel in 1879, being one of the many deep sea animals discovered during the Challenger expedition of 1872–1876. The scientists on the Challenger expedition would probably be in awe to see an image like this of this species in its habitat. Modern taxonomists have split the species into two sub-species that are very difficult to distinguished from images alone. Thanks to submersibles like MBARI’s ROVs, we have beautiful images of many deep-sea animals that were originally described based on trawled specimens that were often damaged during collection.
(via: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

The sea cucumber, Oneirophanta mutabilis, is found on the seafloor at depths ranging from 1,800 - 6,000 m (over 19,000 ft).

It was first described by the Swedish zoologist Hjalmar Théel in 1879, being one of the many deep sea animals discovered during the Challenger expedition of 1872–1876. The scientists on the Challenger expedition would probably be in awe to see an image like this of this species in its habitat. Modern taxonomists have split the species into two sub-species that are very difficult to distinguished from images alone. Thanks to submersibles like MBARI’s ROVs, we have beautiful images of many deep-sea animals that were originally described based on trawled specimens that were often damaged during collection.

(via: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
Pretty awesome sea star photo captured during NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer’s 2010 expedition to the Coral Triangle region near Indonesian.  The Coral Triangle is thought to be one of the most diverse and biologically complex marine ecosystems in the world. Although much of the region’s diversity is known, most still remains unknown and undocumented. Without increasing our knowledge of what actually exists within the Coral Triangle, we can’t adequately manage, protect, and conserve this unique ecosystem. Learn more: NOAA Ocean Explorer

Pretty awesome sea star photo captured during NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer’s 2010 expedition to the Coral Triangle region near Indonesian.

The Coral Triangle is thought to be one of the most diverse and biologically complex marine ecosystems in the world. Although much of the region’s diversity is known, most still remains unknown and undocumented. Without increasing our knowledge of what actually exists within the Coral Triangle, we can’t adequately manage, protect, and conserve this unique ecosystem.

Learn more: NOAA Ocean Explorer

Brisingids 
… are an order of deep-sea seastars that have between six and 20 long, thin arms surrounding a small disc with a large mouth. Brisingids are suspension feeders, meaning they filter water current through their arms that are upheld in the water. It is not uncommon to observe large aggregations of brisingids in deep-sea habitats, such as cliffs and rock formations, where water current is optimal for feeding. 
This image was captured by ROV Doc Ricketts on a seamount off the coast of Oregon.
(via: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

Brisingids

… are an order of deep-sea seastars that have between six and 20 long, thin arms surrounding a small disc with a large mouth. Brisingids are suspension feeders, meaning they filter water current through their arms that are upheld in the water. It is not uncommon to observe large aggregations of brisingids in deep-sea habitats, such as cliffs and rock formations, where water current is optimal for feeding.

This image was captured by ROV Doc Ricketts on a seamount off the coast of Oregon.

(via: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)