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Part of the most remote island archipelago on Earth, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument supports a reef ecosystem with more than 7,000 marine species and is home to many species of coral, fish, birds and marine mammals. This includes the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, the endangered leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles. A Hawaiian monk seal naps on the beach with a rainbow on the horizon. Photo by Mark Sullivan, NOAA/HMSRP, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer.

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This is actual footage of an unknown species of jellyfish. It was discovered four days into the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer’s mission to investigate the Marianas (both Islands and Trench).  The jellyfish was floating in the waters of the aptly named Enigma Seamount at a depth of about 2.3 miles. 

It is most likely a type of hydromedusa, belonging to the genus Crossota. It has two sets of tentacles - one short and one long - and appears to extend the long set in a predatory pose. According to the scientists, “Within the bell, the radial canals in red are connecting points for what looks like the gonads in bright yellow.”


Check out this octopod, found on the last mission of the Okeanos! And follow their remotely controlled submarine dives via this live stream.

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NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer: Camera 1
From July 7 to August 2, NOAA and partners will conduct an expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to continue collecting critical baseline information abou...

ohh also this is live again. super interesting listening to a bunch of scientists nerd out over sponges and sea cucumbers and things

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On February 25, 2016, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer embarked on a 23 day mission to explore uncharted ecosystems and seafloor in and around Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) off the coast of Hawai’i. The monument is one of the largest conservation areas in the world; over 139,797 square miles and is home to 7,000 species, a variety of geological features and a Japanese aircraft carrier lost during WWII. 

The discovery of an unknown octopod - possibly a new species - has already caught the attention of the internet.

According to Athline Clark, PMNM superintendent for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, "NOAA’s exploration efforts provide the information we need to properly protect the health and integrity of this precious ecosystem.“

The expedition includes 24-hour operations consisting of remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives and mapping operations. All dives are being live-streamed so you can follow along!

Images Courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Hohonu Moana.

What are scientists up to in your national marine sanctuaries?

In Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, researchers are kicking off an expedition to explore the sanctuary’s deep-sea ecosystems!

Using a remotely operated vehicle, scientists from Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary will explore the sanctuary’s deep-water ecosystems. Photo: Charleston Lab

Located off the coast of Southern California, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary protects remarkable biodiversity, productive ecosystems, and sensitive species and habitats. But more than a quarter of this ocean treasure remains unmapped and little-explored. This month, a research expedition will change that.

Throughout April and May, a team of NOAA-led researchers will explore the sanctuary’s deep seafloor environment. Deep-sea environments like those in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary provide nurseries and habitat for commercially-important species such as lobster, squid, and sea urchins. Some deep coral reefs may also produce chemicals that could be key to the next generation of medicines. However, these habitats are under threat. The two-week cruise on board the NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada will shine a light on how these ecosystems are impacted by a variety of stresses facing them, such as ocean acidification.

When we burn fossil fuels like oil and gas, we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. When the ocean absorbs this carbon dioxide, chemical reactions occur that reduce seawater pH and the amounts of available calcium carbonate minerals. This is known as ocean acidification. Calcium carbonate minerals are the building blocks for the skeletons and shells of many marine organisms, including deep-sea corals.

Lophelia pertusa (white coral at left and lower-right) is a deep-sea coral that is sensitive to ocean acidification. Photo: NOAA

2014 survey results indicate that corals in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary are already experiencing effects from ocean acidification, and waters in this area are projected to become even more acidic. Corals support extensive fish and invertebrate populations, including commercially-fished species, so it is important to monitor the potentially harmful effects ocean acidification has on deep-sea corals. Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), the ocean acidification team will collect samples of Lophelia pertusa, a stony reef-building deep-sea coral found in the sanctuary. Researchers will also monitor water chemistry in and around reefs to help measure local effects of increased carbon dioxide emissions and to assess this ecosystem’s overall vulnerability to ocean acidification.

Keep reading

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Ghostlike Octopus Found Lurking Deep Below the Sea 

While exploring the deep sea northeast of Hawaii’s Necker Island with a remotely operated vehicle, scientists aboard the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer were surprised to encounter what may be a never-before-seen octopus.

Though the February 27 discovery was made at a depth of 4,290 meters (14,075 feet), the octopus belongs to a group of octopods that have not previously been observed at depths greater than 4,000 meters (13,123 feet).

This octopus lacks pigment cells typical of most cephalopods, which gives it a ghostlike appearance.  

(via: National Geographic)