Camera-Ready Critters On Never-Before-Surveyed Seamounts
When you’re exploring never-before-surveyed seamounts, every dive holds a new surprise. Aboard the E/V Nautilus, our team has already captured a plethora of biodiversity among the unnamed underwater mountain chain surrounding the Chautauqua Seamount, southwest of the Hawaiian Islands. This video offers favorite moments of seamount sightings including some gorgeous views of a bamboo coral’s polyps, a delicate tunicate (aka “sea squirt”) floating in the current, and a camera-ready snipe eel.
This underwater mountain chain is a marine habitat that researchers view as a potential oasis of benthic life because there is an abundance of hard substrate for fauna to attach. Additionally, seamounts impact oceanographic mixing, changing how nutrients are delivered to various layers and regions of the ocean. Seamounts and volcanic ridges in the Central Pacific are being investigated to understand their role in genetic flow across the ocean basins.
Located south of the Hawaiian Islands, Chautauqua Seamount and the un-named seamount chain comprises seven seamounts measuring between 15 and 25 kilometers across and rising more than 2 kilometers from the 4-kilometer deep abyssal seafloor. Aside from sparse bathymetric and geophysical surveys, these underwater mountains are unsurveyed by ROVs or high-resolution seafloor mapping.