Map of MBNMS with Davidson Seamount in the front. Researchers have been cataloguing many new species since. Between October 13 and 18, 2019, E/V Nautilus will be returning to Davidson Seamount in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) after an eventful discovery last October. And the “snow” is fitting—as a whale skeleton inches into view, scientists aboard the Nautilus erupt into excitement, exclaiming, “It’s like Christmas morning for deep sea explorers right now!” This was a whale fall, where several deep-sea octopuses and other creatures were busy feasting upon the remains of a whale on the seabed. … Photo: OET/NOAA. The team was exploring the Southeast Davidson Seamount off the coast of California with Explorer Vessel Nautilus when they came across the incredible gathering of Muusoctopus robustus octopuses. “Even though we have a lot of beautiful imagery and we’ve been there more than a few times, you can imagine a mountain that is 26 miles long by 8 miles wide and 8,000 feet tall. Octopuses observed at the Davidson Seamount, an ocean … Davidson Seamount is one of the largest and best-explored seamounts, standing at an astonishing 7,480 feet tall yet 4,101 feet below the surface. The Final Rule, which includes the boundary expansion, is available at http://montereybay.noaa.gov/intro/mp/welcome.html. The seamount’s summit is known for high concentrations of deep-sea corals, while the foothills had been relatively unexplored. The first research survey to Davidson Seamount, a collaboration between NOAA and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), did not occur until 2002. Some deep sea corals can live for several thousand years, making them the oldest organisms on the planet. First, scavengers consume the whale’s soft tissue. Davidson Seamount lies about 80 miles southwest off the coast of Monterey. The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has determined that the Davidson Seamount requires protection from the take of or other injury to benthic organisms or those organisms living near the seafloor because of the seamount's special ecological and fragile qualities and potential future threats that could adversely affect these qualities. We are following local and departmental guidance, and will continue to … This was a whale fall, where several deep-sea octopuses and other creatures were busy feasting upon the remains of a whale on the seabed. It’s also known as a dumbo octopus, for its fins that look like large ears. Sanctuary Research at Davidson Seamount, For a summary of seamount characterization research, see: Exploration: Davidson Seamount, For information on George Davidson, see: First, we saw a small group of octopuses tucked into bowling ball sized … Exploring Davidson Seamount is a crucial next step toward learning how to protect and conserve important places in our ocean and promote healthy ecosystem management. Never before seen in these massive aggregations, most female octopus were resting in a brooding posture, tucked into rocks with eight arms inverted covering their bodies and eggs. Ecological Characterization & Habitat Modeling of the Davidson Seamount Fauna, To view the San Simeon Discovery Center video, see: Video: Natural Wonders of Davidson Seamount, To view and download high resolution images, see: SIMoN Photo Library (search by location: Davidson Seamount), For a summary of the 2006 Expedition, see: Biodiversity abounds on Davidson Seamount. Davidson Seamount lies about 80 miles southwest off the coast of Monterey. On a later trip using the submersible, Alvin, King and his colleagues returned to the octopus garden with tools that could measure the temperature of the water seeping out of the vents. While using a remotely operated vehicle to explore the Davidson Seamount, as the area is known, a team of researchers recently caught sight of one such creature: the rarely-seen dumbo octopus. In 2019, the research team had another dive planned to revisit the octopus garden, equipped with long-term temperature loggers, oxygen loggers, and water samplers. Orange stalked crinoid and octopus (Graneledone boreopacifica) at 1973 meters water depth. In Costa Rica, researchers had been unable to gather evidence of how deep-sea octopus eggs develop. From base to crest, the seamount is 7,480 ft tall, yet its summit is still 4,101 ft below the sea surface. As part of the 2008 Management Plan for the MBNMS, a boundary change includes the undersea mountain as the Davidson Seamount Management Zone (DSMZ). This ghostly umbrella octopus drifted past the remotely operated vehicle a t a depth of nearly 11,000 feet near Davidson Seamount. Davidson Seamount Management Zone addition to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Questions began flooding King’s mind. Deep ocean water is typically cold, only slightly above freezing, at 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Technical Report: Davidson Seamount: A National Treaure, http://montereybay.noaa.gov/intro/mp/welcome.html, Davidson Seamount Management Zone Management Plan, Ecological Characterization & Habitat Modeling of the Davidson Seamount Fauna, Video: Natural Wonders of Davidson Seamount, Davidson Seamount: Exploring Ancient Coral Gardens, George Davidson (1825-1911): Pioneer Scientist and Surveyor, Technical Report: Davidson Seamount: A National Treaure, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Technical Report: Threats Assessment, For a summary of deep-sea coral research, see: Scientists could see that many of the eggs looked healthy. As they neared the end of a 35-hour dive, time was running short and they hadn’t seen much that was noteworthy.. And then, the team noticed a solitary periwinkle deep-sea octopus along a rocky outcrop, and then another. The Davidson Seamount is a pristine undersea mountain habitat off the coast of Central California, 80 miles to the southwest of Monterey and 75 miles west of San Simeon. Cameras from ROVs Hercules and Argus captured the population dynamics at play. So, that was the dumbo octopus. “Just like when you see a mirage or waving light off hot asphalt in the summer,” King recalls. Even though these expeditions take place at great depths under the sea surface, the ROV dives are live-streamed so anyone can feel like they’re aboard the Nautilus, sitting alongside King and his research team. They had discovered a second octopus nursery: the octo-cone. The third and final dive took Chad King and two pilots to a depth of 3,241 meters back to the “Octopus Gardens.” Image: NOAA. The scientists were curious about what else they would find on the mountain’s flanks. one scientist said, quickly followed by an adoring chorus of "Dumbo!" In 2008, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary was expanded to protect it. Fly-trap anemone (Family: Hormathiidae) on the slope of the Davidson Seamount at 1,874 m. Number of Corals Identified at Designation. They don’t know if it’s … Davidson seamount is a 7,000-foot-tall underwater mountain with its highest peak at 4,000 feet below the surface. Then, for eight hours, you get to look around and write down what you see and then you’re done. It is one of the largest known seamounts in U.S. waters, with a peak of 7,500 feet above the seafloor, and is the only seamount protected within the National Marine Sanctuary System. But the proposed Sanctuary plan does not protect the waters above the seamount (from the surface to 3,000 feet down fishing is allowed). Osedax worms, a translucent pink with white tips, dissolve the bones and metabolize the lipids, with the help of symbiotic bacteria that live within their body. Soon, the ROV glided across a cluster of about 25 brooding female octopuses. While near Davidson Seamount, King and his research team found the first evidence of developing eggs in an octopus garden. Octopuses abound, and whale falls foster new micro-ecosystems, recycling nutrients in the sea. “We peered off into the darkness down the slope, we could still see octopuses as far as we could into the darkness. During the Nautilus exploration of the whale fall, which was live-streamed for the public, a scientist tells viewers, “You are a part of our exploration in real time right now. If you’ve done several ROV dives there, you’ve still barely seen anything.”, King says that diving with an ROV on Davidson Seamount is “like being dropped in a national park with a couple of powerful flashlights. (No, it’s not octopi.) An estimated four months after its descent to the seabed, the whale fall was already fostering a new purpose, feeding crabs, eelpouts, and Muusoctopus octopuses. When a whale dies at sea, its body sinks to the seafloor and begins to decompose. The answer came in a glimpse of a shimmer. Dr. M November 11, 2018 Brooding California Davidson Seamount nursery Octopus Pacific sanctuary Seamount A yellow sponge (Staurocalyptus sp. An underwater mountain, it was the first undersea feature to be characterized as a “seamount,” in 1938. The octopus garden was discovered at the cold, dark depth of 12,000 feet in a rocky area at the base of Davidson seamount. NOAA's national marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers are closed to the public while the waters remain open for responsible use in accordance with CDC guidance and local regulations. Images from this cruise are making their way to Web sites, and have already been exchanged with scientists on-shore to begin the description of what is probably a new species of branching sponge. “There’s a lot of stuff we haven’t characterized there,” says Chad King, research specialist at Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. As a result of management plan revision, a seven-year process involving public input and agency collaboration, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) expanded to include the Davidson Seamount in 2008. In 2008, Monterey Bay National … Davidson Seamount: Exploring Ancient Coral Gardens. It was incredible to see baby octopus swim away.”, Octopuses and eelpouts bring new life to the whale skeleton. Image courtesy of NOAA/MBARI. Davidson Seamount Management Zone (DSMZ): New technology has only recently allowed scientists to bring back dramatic high resolution images from the deep sea, offering researchers and the public an opportunity to witness the never before seen glimpses of rare marine species living in this largely cold, dark, and mysterious habitat. These nutrients fuel an explosion of planktonic plant and animal growth, and can attract whales, sharks, and seabirds to a booming feast on the surface. crawling on it, several white ruffle sponges (Farrea occa), and a new species of white-branched sponge (Asbestopluma sp. Out of time, they began their journey back up to the surface. King says, “Conservatively, in that 45 minute span, we saw over 1,000, easily.”. Using the cameras of the ROVs, scientists can see stretches of twilight blue, with white specks dotting the view—marine snow, a shower of organic material floating down from the upper columns of the ocean. 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