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Collecting jelly

Many deep-sea animals have gelatinous bodies that are well adapted to the weightlessness of the deep ocean. However, if caught in an oceanographer's net, these fragile animals are often destroyed. To collect such jellies alive and intact, MBARI researchers use these clear plastic cylinders known as "detritus samplers." These cylinders are attached to an arm that swings out from the body of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). To capture a jelly, the ROV pilot must maneuver the entire ROV (which weighs about 3,000 kilograms or three tons in air) until the jelly is inside the cylinder. Then the co-pilot quickly closes the mechanical lids to seal off the top and bottom of the cylinder, trapping the jelly inside. This photograph shows two detritus samplers on ROV Tiburon as the ROV pilots try to collect an as-yet unnamed species of jelly in the depths of Monterey Canyon, about 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) below the ocean surface.

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