Monterey Bay Aquarium at sea
October 26, 2012
The expedition this week includes staff from the husbandry department at the Monterey Bay Aquarium who are working on a potential new exhibit. The Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute are separate organizations but often work closely together on exhibit development, education, and outreach. This week, the aquarists are looking for cephalopods and have been able to collect several different species. Alicia Bitondo and Chris Payne spent some time last night trying to come up with a way to avoid exposing these animals to light. We were hoping to get a chance to try this out by collecting a squid or Vampyroteuthis on our ascent, but unfortunately high winds cut our dive today short.
We were able to collect a deep-sea octopus and bring it back on deck where it was whisked away in a dark bag by Chris and Alicia. We were also fortunate enough to see some yet-to-be described species that researchers have been working on for a while: a beautiful white ctenophore that lives just above the ocean floor and the mystery mollusc.
Unfortunately we also saw evidence of humans in the ocean. Down on the ocean floor we spotted a couple of different aluminum cans and the remains of a balloon that may look suspiciously like a jelly to some unsuspecting predator.
The high winds are predicted to stay throughout the day on Saturday so we are leaving this deep water site and moving in closer to shore where hopefully the weather conditions will let us dive tomorrow at our Midwater 1 site.