Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Bioluminescence and Biodiversity 2007

July 27 - August 1, 2007

July 31, 2007

Rebecca Helm and Meghan Powers write: Today was an early morning since the ROV was diving to the seafloor which is nearly 2900 meters blow the surface. Once at this depth, the ROV cruised a few feet above the ocean floor to look for epipelagic and benthic animals. One animal we came upon was called a crinoid (also called "sea lilies") which is a type of enchinoderm. They attach to their substrate with a long stem and branch out with five arms used for feeding.
Appendicularia larvacean "house" at 3345m.
As the ROV cruised up through the water column into shallower waters, larvacean "houses" become increasingly common. Larvaceans are pelagic-filter feeding animals that resemble tadpoles. They build large mucus bubbles that collect food particles, and when their filters become clogged they abandon their "house" and build a new one. My job on this dive is annotating the real time video by taking frame-grabs of animals we see. As the organism comes into focus I snap a picture and fill in the animal's scientific name.

Once the ROV was back on deck we spent the afternoon preparing animals and supplies for transport when we arrive back on land. The move from the ship to MBARI involves packing all supplies into boxes which are then carried by hand or via forklift to the lab. Animals are transported by hand and to a cold room kept at 4 degrees Celsius, awaiting further studies.


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