This week the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer has been dropping its ROV Little Hercules onto various features in the northern Gulf of Mexico, including an old wood/iron wreck, salt domes and man-made seismic trenches. Okeanos has an interesting remote arrangement where folks back on the continent can direct the ROV pilots in real time by ship-to-shore communications linkup. It’s pretty cool telepresence stuff.
If you follow me on Twitter (@para_sight), you would have seen this week a steady stream of screen caps I grabbed from their live video feed (active at the time of publishing this), which I had running constantly on a second screen in my office. I’m not part of the OE team, but it’s pretty addictive viewing for the temporarily office-bound! For non-Twitter folks, here’s a gallery of shots of some of the things they saw. I am no expert on the taxonomy of deep sea critters; any bad ID’s are mine. I’ll take any missing ID’s too, just add them to the comments.
If you want to go deeper into the science of deep sea critters, check out Dr Craig’s excellent piece today on what happens to wood at the bottom of the ocean.