Experience the Life of the Deep Gulf of Mexico in 20 Videos

As we prepare for our 2019, Gulf of Mexico, Deep-Sea, Wood-Fall Collection, Research Cruise Spectacular from February 11th-24th, enjoy these videos from our 2017 expedition. Also follow us on Instagram and Twitter under hashtag #woodfall to keep updated on our upcoming cruise.

A brittle star demonstrates its unusual walking pattern. See this post for the science behind this walking.
Chimaeras are cartilaginous fish also known as ghost sharks, rat fish, spookfish or rabbit fish. In paleo-oceans, chimaeras were both diverse and abundant while today they are largely only found in the deep sea. While their closest living relatives are sharks, they last common ancestor was nearly 400 million years ago.
An unknown small black fish. Most of the species in the deep oceans have yet to be seen or even officially named by scientists.
Another unknown small black fish…of course I’m no ichthyologist.
A comb jelly dangles its long sticky tentacles searching for prey. The flickers of light are from cilia plates that lines its body and are reflecting light as opposed to bioluminescence.
A sea cucumber munches on mud lazily as two whip corals move gently in the current.
A deep-sea red crab throughs up a defensive posture against the ROV before finally retreating. Note the white barnacles attached on the shell of the crab.
A fast moving Giant Isopod tries to avoid the ROV. This is largest roly-poly on Earth! For reference, the laser points are 9 inches (22.86 cm) apart.
This glass sponge, a Venus’ Flower Basket, holds to commensal shrimp inside its structure.
Several fly-trap anemones are attached to a piece of a shipwreck. Animals that filter-feed out of the water often look for high perches to get up into stronger currents above the seafloor.
The unusual fish, Ipnops, a predator that feeds on molluscs and crustaceans in the sediment. The eyes are extremely modified into flat, cornea-like organs that cover most of the upper surface of the head. Ipnops are also hermaphrodites possessing simultaneously both female and male gonads in a single organ.
Purplebelly Skate known primarily from the deep Gulf of Mexico
The pelagic and gelatinous deep-sea cucumber, Enypniastes. You can see its intestinal track in yellow.
Slurping up the same Enypniastes with the ROV Hoover attachment. You can see here that the cucumber is quite small in comparison to the ROV arm.
Ignore the fact that we lost one of the lasers on the dive and enjoy this absolute unit of deep-sea cucumber.
The amazing tripod fish. Tripod fish, a sit-and-wait predator, seem to prefer being perche dup on their elongated fins rays in the tail and two pelvic fins. They face upstream with the pectoral finds turned toward forward with the fin rays resembling antenna dish. Indeed, it is a dish as fin rays are tactile organs.
A Giant Isopod almost swims into our benthic elevator.
Even at two kilometers deep and 200 kilometers offshore, there is evidence of human impact. Here a blue plastic bag wisps across the ocean floor like an amorphous deep-sea animal.
Aluminum cans are frequent feature of the deep oceans.
And another can.
Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

One Reply to “Experience the Life of the Deep Gulf of Mexico in 20 Videos”

  1. Hey Craig,

    GREAT videos, Thanks for sharing!

    The second wee black fish seems to be a slickhead (Alepocephalidae) of some sort. Also your Ipnops is a Halosaur.


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