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Deep Sea Corals: Hawaii

This incredibly active hydrothermal vent was imaged for the first time during the 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas expedition. It was 30 meters high and gushing high-temperature fluid full of metal particulates. This vent was home to many different species, including Chorocaris shrimp, Munidopsis squat lobsters, Austinograea crabs, limpets, mussels, and snails.


So Hawaii is interesting because it is the most remote island chain in the world. It has somewhat low diversity of corals. These are also the deepest images ever captured inside the papahanaumokuakea marine national monument and so this is both an exciting and historic moment here.

Wow look at the occurrence. Yep these corals positioned themselves with the current and feed on little small particles that are in the water column. These boulders out here a premium habitat for a coral. Growth is not very fast roughly about two centimeters a year.

These are enormous colonies right here. These are bigger than adult people so some of these are over two meters in height.

This is the first time the Okeanos Explorer is going to collect a biological specimen. This family of black corals has very elongate polyps. That bamboo coral is like nothing that has been imaged before from this region. Certainly never seen this either way. If they're tentacles or mesenterial filaments I've never seen anything like this on a corallium. But this genius has not yet been published and it's in the process of being named and described.

This is all new unexplored terrain That's the thing about exploration and when you're going to places that nobody's ever been is you get surprised.