The Fantastical Beasts of the Deep Gulf of Mexico

I recently returned from nearly two weeks at sea with a motley and intrepid crew exploring the Gulf of Mexico almost a mile and half deep.  You can read up on our adventures on our Reddit AMA. The main goal was to deploy nearly 200 wood falls on the deep-sea floor.  The work, funded by the National Science Foundation, seeks to examine how marine organisms respond to changing food supplies as a result of climate change.  Wood falls in the deep sea offer up nice little experimental systems in which to test ideas.  The work was conducted with a remote operated vehicle and allowed us the opportunity to explore the amazing creatures found in the deep Gulf of Mexico.  Below is both an amazing set of photos taken on the surface by the talented photographer Jason Bradley, part of the expedition, and a host photos taken by the scientists and ROV team with the 4K camera aboard Oceaneering’s Global Explorer.

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 (, 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.