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.

Learn more about this expedition funded by NOAA Ocean Exploration through the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute.