Is there something dreamier than a giant phantom jelly billowing within the midst of a deep-sea “snowstorm” ? Will depend on private choice. Possibly you’d be extra impressed by a whalefish flickering within the calm waters like an infrared sensor. Or a barreleye fish snaking by means of the inky depths.
These are among the many dozens of uncommon scenes captured by Doc Ricketts, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)’s robotic rover. For the previous many months the foot-long, 10,000-pound submersible has been exploring the undersea canyons off central California—a gateway to the Pacific Ocean’s abyssal plain and the various curiosities that thrive on it.
[Related: A photo gallery of sea creature tracks]
With the rover’s highly effective HD cameras and LED lights, MBARI researchers can detect and report wildlife which have infrequently been glimpsed upon by human eyes. Take the large phantom jelly, for instance. First described in 1910 and recognized within the Sixties, the species has been documented in six of the world’s oceans. Nonetheless, it’s solely been seen 100 or so instances—9 of which have been by MBARI. The vast majority of the jelly’s body (which might stretch as much as 33 toes—about so long as two stacked giraffes) is made up of 4 “mouth arms” that it makes use of to wrangle prey and tread water. It doesn’t have tentacles, nor does it appear to sting.
The whalefish was one other likelihood discovery made by Doc Ricketts this summer time. MBARI researchers identified it as a member of the Cetomimidae family, a bunch of deep-sea vertebrates that lack scales and outstanding fins. The creatures aren’t associated to whale sharks, however are named after them due to the best way they maintain their mouths open to feed. And although they may look neon-bright within the mild, their stunning coloration helps them slip into the blackness of the midnight zone. Marine biologists are nonetheless piecing collectively the whalefish’s anatomical particulars, however from what they know to date, it enjoys a truly unconventional sex life.
After all, no bottom-of-the-ocean journey can be full with out an animal that appears prefer it’s product of cellophane. Simply this week, MBARI researchers shared a clip of a barreleye fish discovered greater than 2,000 toes down in Monterey Bay. Not like whalefish, this animal has a working set of peepers that roll all the way back in its head, permitting it to scan above for threats. The inexperienced lenses may additionally assist it to identify bioluminescence, even when daylight invades its setting. The clear helmet, in the meantime, is crammed with fluid, which protects its organs and provides them some wiggle room.
Doc Ricketts is one of two robotic rovers that MBARI owns and operates. The ocean-research middle additionally makes use of a benthic rover, a mini rover, and a number of different autonomous autos to discover Monterey Bay. Take a look at its YouTube channel for extra movies from its deep sea expeditions.