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Scientists encounter ghostly sea creatures during exploration of Monterey Bay

Posted at 2:43 PM, Oct 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-24 17:44:44-04

(KSBW) A crew with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is live streaming its deep sea exploration mission this week.

The Exploration Vessel Nautilus is sitting above the Davidson Seamount about 80 miles southwest of Monterey. The vessel is equipped with remotely operated vehicles the size of cars that can go dive more than two miles below the ocean’s surface.

You can watch a live stream of the mission online. Scientists on board the vessel will also answer your questions in real time.

The goal of the mission is to get a look at unexplored areas of the seamount.

“It’s this giant undersea mountain that rises up off the sea floor within 4,000 feet of the sea surface,” said Paul Michel, MBNMS Superintendent

Michel described the seamount as an oasis in the ocean where a mix of currents, nutrients and sunlight make it a hospitable place for deep sea creatures.

“On top of the mountain are these giant corals and sponges as big as you and me and they are like the old growth forests of the ocean,” he said.

The crew aboard the Nautilus is providing live commentary of what scientists are seeing on ROV cameras. The most interesting animal they spotted Tuesday was a ghostly-looking dumbo octopus two miles deep.

The name “dumbo octopus” covers an entire genus of deep-sea umbrella octopi named for their fins which resemble “Dumbo,” the Disney movie elephant.

The live stream from the seamount will be up through October 31.

A Grimpoteuthis octopus, also known as a dumbo octopus, is seen in the area of the Davidson Seamount in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. (Photo courtesy OET/Nautilus Live)