Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Press Room
26 Jan 2006

Images related to the news release
Ocean expedition to explore ancient coral gardens

UPDATE: Images from the 2006 Davidson Seamount expedition are now available here.

Note: Members of the media needing higher-resolution versions should contact Kim Fulton-Bennett, kfb@mbari.org, 831-775-1835.


Image credit: Image: (c) 2003 MBARI

Davidson Seamount is a series of extinct underwater volcanos located about 120 km (75 miles) southwest of Monterey Bay, beyond the continental shelf and the continental rise.


Image credit: NOAA / MBARI

This map of Davidson Seamount shows its position in relation to the San Francisco Bay area and the boundaries of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary


Image credit: Image: (c) 2002 MBARI / NOAA

Some of the "bubble-gum corals" on Davidson Seamount grow to be more than 2.5 meters (eight feet) tall. They are actually colonies of thousands of tiny animals (polyps) that look like sea anemones, each with a ring of small tentacles that gather particles from the passing currents. These corals often grow at right angles to the prevailing current to allow all of their individual polyps maximum exposure to particles flowing past.


Image credit: Image: (c) 2002 MBARI / NOAA

A blob sculpin swims among yellow sponges on Davidson Seamount. This deep-water fish was only discovered in the late 1960s. Blob sculpins are opportunistic feeders that eat sea pens, snails, and crabs. Large blob sculpin are often marked with rings that may be marks left by squid or octopus tentacles. MBARI scientists recently discovered that blob sculpin lay thousands of eggs on the seafloor, keeping the eggs clean and defending them from predators.


Image credit: Image: (c) 2002 MBARI / NOAA

A Venus-flytrap anemone on Davidson Seamount.


Image credit: Image: (c) 2002 MBARI / NOAA

Close up view of a gorgonian coral with small shrimp.


Image credit: Image: (c) 2002 MBARI / NOAA

Mushroom coral (Anthomastus sp.) growing on Davidson Seamount. These soft corals capture food particles with their stinging tentacles. When threatened, they withdraw their tentacles, leaving a rounded knob that looks like a mushroom.


Image credit: Image: (c) 2002 MBARI / NOAA

Red octopus (Benthoctopus sp.) hunting on Davidson Seamount. Deep-water octopus often hunt snails, crabs, and other small animals on the seafloor.

Last updated: Apr. 12, 2012