NOAA’s research ship Okeanos Explorer and its ROV Deep Discoverer (aka D2) wrapped up their latest exploration of the seafloor and marine canyons around Puerto Rico last week. Not all of the video logs summarizing their dives are up yet, but I thought this one gave a particularly nice taste of the geology and fantastic lifeforms the scientists encountered.
A quick viewing note: sclerites are another name for hard sponge spicules, and the ones the narrator is referring to with amazement are actually best seen at 2:06 — where they are the straight white lines you see embedded in the polyp at lower left — before she actually talks about them in the audio.
A few more of the videos posted so far are worth a peek for the curious. Dive 8 was an engineering dive whose video log shows in under 2 minutes how much ocean exploration can resemble space exploration. It also features a terrific Go-Pro selfie of Deep Discoverer with shrimp at 0:53. And on Dive 2, the team encounters a new creature in my book: a deep sea slime star at 2:22! Chris Mah once again weighs in.
You can check out the rest of the video logs, which I understand will be posted in their entirety in the next week or so, here.