Unnamed Seamount A's Beautiful Bamboo Coral
In the first-ever survey of Unnamed Seamount A investigating the Wentworth Seamount chain of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, the team has been witnessing rich sponge and coral diversity. While flying the ROVs over 1,300 meters deep along the side of this ancient volcano, the team encountered this gorgeous bamboo coral, an animal group named for the skeletal nodes that resemble the bamboo segments.
Our ROV pilots estimated this specimen to be two to three meters tall - towering over ROV Hercules and taller than all of the team! While shallow-water coral reefs are better known, deep sea coral communities and the ecosystems they support across Pacific seamounts are largely unexplored.
Learn more about the Luʻuaeaahikiikapapakū expedition sponsored by NOAA Ocean Exploration and the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.
Returning to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) after an expedition in 2018, our team will be conducting ROV surveys on a chain of seamounts, and document whether these underwater mountains support vibrant coral and sponge communities like others in the region.