Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration studied previously unexplored seafloor habitats in NOAA’s national marine sanctuaries, NOAA officials said.
The expedition took place in the Cordell Bank and the northern part of Monterey Bay national marine sanctuaries.
They focused primarily on studying coral, sponge, and groundfish communities using advanced technology aboard an NOAA ship.
The team collected 31 specimens to sample for identification. The samples included several species that had never been documented before in these marine sanctuaries. Researchers saw a species of deep-sea shark known as catsharks, along with rockfish, flatfish, and skates.
They also found many species of deep-sea corals, including a few that may be undescribed species and some known to live in southern areas but were seen for the first time in these waters.
To survey the seafloor and record images of the habitats, scientists and a team from Marine Applied Research and Exploration (MARE) used a remotely operated vehicle. The vehicle was launched from the ship and lowered as deep as 2,000 feet into the ocean.
The unmanned vehicle transmitted real-time video and images via a cable connected to the ship.
By Nuria Marquez