Photo album:

Creatures of the Continental Slope

E/V Nautilus returns to diving for the 2016 season in Northeastern Pacific Ocean working with Ocean Networks Canada to maintain the NEPTUNE cabled observatory. While diving at NEPTUNE's Barkley Canyon and Clayoquot Slope stations (nodes), the vehicles sit at the edge of the North American continental margin. This region is the boundary where relatively shallow waters quickly transition into the abyss. For the creatures living on these sediment-covered slopes, in the crevasses of deep canyons, or in the vastness of the midwater, almost every meal trickles down from the ocean's surface. The gradual changes in pressure, light, oxygen, and the fluxes of raining organic matter help shape a diverse set of ecosystems. We are just beginning to understand the subtleties of these habitats and to understand the lives of the beautiful and bizarre types of life found there. E/V Nautilus, in partnership with Ocean Networks Canada, recently visited these environments west of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. These images represent a small sample of life at the margin.