The faceless cusk eel, slime stars, sea butterflies, glass sponges, and, at around 47 meters (154 feet) long, what may be the largest siphonophore Apolemia ever recorded. This stunning 4K footage was collected from dives into the eastern Indian Ocean’s Ningaloo Canyons. The Schmidt Ocean Institute‘s ROV SuBastian reveals some rarely-seen deep sea creatures from their record-setting research.
The “biologically unexplored” Ningaloo Canyons are off the northwest coastal region of Western Australia. More on the process of exploration, observation, and collection from the Institute’s site, including this behind-the-scenes video:
Deep-sea animals are not as well known as creatures that live in shallow coastal areas. They are logistically challenging to collect, so are especially precious and rare. In order to maximize the number of species we encounter on a deep-sea expedition, we sample as many diverse habitats as possible, using multiple collection techniques (e.g. ROV arm, nets, suction, sediment sieving of push cores, traps). We do not collect many individuals, and are selective in collecting enough samples to ensure we can determine what species we see and also understand some of the variability within each species. All of our collections are tightly controlled by an array of government and regulatory permits, approvals and ethical considerations (More about Why We Sample here).
Museums are the custodians for collections and data on behalf of the public, and we take that responsibility very seriously. All the specimens we collect will be photographed, fixed, identified, and accessioned permanently into museum collections, then our data are shared with the world via Atlas of Living Australia (ALA). We collect as much associated habitat data as possible for each species too. Museum collections are the only way to have a permanent, irrefutable record of a species from a certain place and time.
The ROV can travel to sea floors as deep as 4,500-meters or 2.8 miles. Here are two more behind-the-scenes videos featuring interviews with some very excited researchers, including Chief Scientist and team lead Dr. Nerida Wilson. “Up to 30 new underwater species were made by researchers from the Western Australian Museum aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor,” It’s no wonder they’re excited. Watch:
Then watch more deep sea videos on TKSST, including:
• Into the Deep Unknown with deep sea biologist Diva Amon
• Incredible first footage of a deep-sea anglerfish pair
• Collecting the deep sea animals of Monterey Submarine Canyon
• Three quarters of deep-sea animals are bioluminescent
• Live Stream: NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer in the Mariana Trench