Discoveries

Undersea Robot Tracks Exotic Sea Animals in the Depths of the Pacific Ocean

PHOTOGRAPH: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research | Photo shows the sea toad, found during a remotely operated vehicle dive off of Wake Island.

Ready to dive into the depths of the Pacific Ocean to witness exotic sea life? An undersea robot has been deployed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. to hunt for strange marine life in the depths of the Pacific Ocean.

NOAA and partners have been using the NOAA research vessel Okeanos Explorer to explore unknown and little-known deepwater areas in American Samoa and Samoa and has focused on Rose Atoll Marine National Monument, National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, and National Park of American Samoa.

The vessel sent the remotely operated vehicle called the Deep Discoverer in the ocean depths (about 6,000 meters beneath the water’s surface), and it has so far been able to capture exotic sea animals like the “walking” fish or sea toad and other curiosities.  The public can watch the stunning undersea spectacle that has been streaming in leading social media sites, including Facebook.

The ROV dives have been streaming, fascinating many online followers. The live videos will continue throughout the month of February and until March 2.

Revelations During Previous Expeditions

The 2017 American Samoa Expedition has been preceded by other expeditions. NOAA’s Campaign to Address Pacific monument Science, Technology, and Ocean Needs is now on its third and final year.

To date, it has collected data from the deep ocean within marine-protected areas in the Pacific Ocean. The information has not only shed light on huge unexplored areas and uncovered interesting new marine species, but it also helped key decision-makers in the management of protected areas and related issues.

Okeanos Explorer expeditions discovered new species, observed known animals in new locations or manifesting unseen behaviors. They have also found living animal creatures previously only seen as laboratory specimens.

During a ROV dive in the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument in the Mariana Islands near Guam located in the western Pacific Ocean, among the sea creatures observed by scientists was a stunning jellyfish with flying-saucer-like bell and wiry tentacles.  The Okeanos Explorer used telepresence to engage the majority of the science team from shore.

Colorful Marine Life in Other Parts of the World

In other parts of the world like  O’Brien Bay in East Antarctica,  remarkable marine life has also been observed after scientists deployed a camera attached to a remotely operated vehicle under Antarctic sea ice. The footage captured the teeming undersea life that included sea urchins, sponges, sea spiders, sea cucumbers, and starfish, among others.

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