Colorful Critters of All Shapes and Sizes on Unnamed Seamount D

Some 150 miles west of Kaua’i, the E/V Nautilus team were lucky enough to spot some of the deep sea’s most interesting (and adorable) creatures. Take a peek into our dive along Unnamed Seamount D near the Chautauqua Seamounts and you’ll see a dumbo octopus, deep sea lizardfish, brightly colored corals, and bioluminescent comb jellies. From pink to purple to yellow to blue, the abundance of colors found at the bottom of this seamount reminds us of how much we still have to learn about these never-before-surveyed areas.

Our Luʻuaeahikiikekualonokai expedition explored the Chautauqua Seamount and surrounding unnamed seamount chain. Aside from sparse bathymetric and geophysical surveys, these underwater mountains were previously unsurveyed by ROVs or high-resolution seafloor mapping. Identifying the benthic organisms along this seamount chain will provide important insight into identifying unique evolutionary strategies for critters that call this area home.

This expedition was funded by NOAA Ocean Exploration through the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute.