Colorful Coral Gardens and Sponges on Solide Seamount

All the colors of Spring were present during our dive of Solide Seamount during expedition Luʻuaeaahikiikekumu including a bright yellow Bolosoma sponge and a large Calyptrophora ocotocoral and its associates- all various shades of pale pink and peach. We love finding these coral gardens of high density and diversity growing on substrate thousands of meters under the surface of the ocean. They provide communities not only for corals and sponges but a wide variety of associated critters including sea stars, brittle stars, anemones, sea urchins, fish, and so much more!

Exploring  the Liliʻuokalani Ridge Seamounts of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument has certainly brought us all our favorite colors of the season. The bright hues of these animals in a world of darkness is a fascinating study in evolution and biology. Scientists don’t believe the colors serve much purpose down there (since nothing can really see them) but agree that most corals, sponges, and invertebrates sporting pretty pastels do so because of lingering evolutionary reasons from shallow sea relatives.

Learn more about this expedition funded by NOAA Ocean Exploration via the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute with additional support from the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.