Exploring Ancient Coral Gardens
Davidson Expedition, January 26 - February 4, 2006

January 31, 2006
Davidson Seamount Expedition Log: Day 6

NOAA/MBARI Objectives: Multiple benthic biology transects, current measurements, Niskin water samples, biology sample collections.

After a very long night (we came into shore briefly to swap out our HD video recorder), we started diving again at 9 AM and touched bottom in 2800 meters by 11 AM. We transected a deep sediment filled valley and continued the transect up a steep talus slope which also contained occasional lava outcrops and elongate pillows. We transited through midwater to arrive on the slopes of a sister cone, which was nearly identical to the other in size and composition, though it’s peak was slightly shallower at 1700 meters.

The sea star Ceramaster (see image to right) and sea cucumber Laetmogone were the most commonly seen megafauna upon the talus slopes today. We saw only a few corals including Anthomastus ritteri, a few Primnoids, Lepidisis and single Acanthogorgia.

We saw several species of sponges, though not nearly as many as we did on previous days. NOAA scientists collected several interesting specimens including a beautiful gastropod , an unusual sea urchin, and a very strange organism which we are suspecting might be a xenophyophore.

We encountered a fly-trap anemone and several species of fish including an Antimora microlepis (see image below), several Bothrocara brunneum, Spectrunculus grandis and an Aldrovandia.

- Lonny Lundsten

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