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Extremely rare images of elusive glass octopus spotted in the remote Pacific Ocean

Glass octopus
Source: LiveScience

Schmidt Ocean Institute’s underwater robot SuBastian made two rare sightings of a glass octopus, a nearly transparent species whose only opaque features are its optic nerve, eyeballs and digestive tract.

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Marine scientists aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor have identified likely new marine species and deep-sea organisms on nine seamounts that were explored for the first time in the remote Phoenix Islands Archipelago. In a 34-day expedition that ended on Thursday 8 July, scientists also conducted high-resolution seafloor mapping of more than 30,000 square kilometers and video exploration of five additional seamounts. During the expedition, scientists made two rare sightings of a glass octopus, a nearly transparent species whose only visible features are its optic nerve, eyeballs and digestive tract. Before this expedition, there has been limited live footage of the glass octopus, forcing scientists to learn about the animal by studying specimens found in the gut contents of predators. 

Source: SchmidtOceanInstitute

Like other

Marine biologists spotted the elusive glass octopus (Vitreledonella richardi) during a 34-day expedition off the remote Phoenix Islands, an archipelago located more than 3,200 miles (5,100 kilometers) northeast of Sydney, Australia. Like other “glass” creatures, such as glass frogs and certain comb jellies, glass octopuses are almost completely transparent, with only their cylindrical eyes, optic nerve and digestive tract appearing opaque. (Image credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute) Source: LiveScience

Of the 21 expedition dives, totaling more than 182 hours of exploration on the seafloor with SuBastian, seven were completed in the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM) and offered new insights into the no-take marine protected area, which includes the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around the Howland and Baker islands.
White coral covered with fan stars in the Central Pacific Ocean. Of the 21 expedition dives, totaling more than 182 hours of exploration on the seafloor with SuBastian, seven were completed in the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM) and offered new insights into the no-take marine protected area, which includes the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around the Howland and Baker islands. Source: via LiveScience
In 2017, Falkor traveled to the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) with some of the same scientists. The recently concluded expedition continued the 2017 work in the U.S. portions of the Phoenix Islands Archipelago, offering a more complete picture of the region’s entire ecosystem and how the seamount habitats are connected.(Image credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute)
A drone captured this view of the Falkor research vessel. In 2017, Falkor traveled to the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) with some of the same scientists. The recently concluded expedition continued the 2017 work in the U.S. portions of the Phoenix Islands Archipelago, offering a more complete picture of the region’s entire ecosystem and how the seamount habitats are connected.(Image credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute) Source: via LiveScience
The science team completed the first comprehensive survey of coral and sponge predation in the world, to investigate how corals respond to grazing scars and wounding. (Image credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute)
Feathery-like broad pink coral in the Central Pacific Ocean. The science team completed the first comprehensive survey of coral and sponge predation in the world, to investigate how corals respond to grazing scars and wounding. (Image credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute) Source: via LiveScience
Building off a groundbreaking 2017 expedition, a follow-up expedition in the Phoenix Islands Archipelago enabled the largest collection of microbial cultures from the central Pacific Ocean and the most comprehensive study of deep sea coral and sponge ecosystems in this part of the world. (Image credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute)
The launch of the underwater robot SuBastian. Building off a groundbreaking 2017 expedition, a follow-up expedition in the Phoenix Islands Archipelago enabled the largest collection of microbial cultures from the central Pacific Ocean and the most comprehensive study of deep sea coral and sponge ecosystems in this part of the world. (Image credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute) Source: LiveScience
The team conducted a series of novel experiments onboard the ship to determine how corals and sponge immune systems react to over 15 different microbial stimuli. Through this work, the team generated the largest deep-water microbial culture collection from the Central Pacific ocean. (Image credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute)
A squat lobster on golden coral in the Central Pacific Ocean. The team conducted a series of novel experiments onboard the ship to determine how corals and sponge immune systems react to over 15 different microbial stimuli. Through this work, the team generated the largest deep-water microbial culture collection from the Central Pacific ocean. (Image credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute) Source: LiveScience
examine a deep-sea shrimp collected during a recent dive of the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) SuBastian. Findings from these experiments will help to define the origins of adaptive immunity in multicellular animals, which may provide new insights and technologies that can help propel modern medical research in cancer immunotherapies, drug delivery and improved vaccine efficacy.
L-R) Alexis Weinnig (a research scientist with the US Geological Survey) and Tim Shank (deep-sea biologist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) examine a deep-sea shrimp collected during a recent dive of the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) SuBastian. Findings from these experiments will help to define the origins of adaptive immunity in multicellular animals, which may provide new insights and technologies that can help propel modern medical research in cancer immunotherapies, drug delivery and improved vaccine efficacy. Source: SchmidtOcean.org
Here a corallivorous deep-sea sea star Evoplosoma eats live coral at a depth of 2004m on a previously unexplored ABNJ seamount (Area Beyond National Jurisdiction).
Researchers saw this striking and clear example of corallivory: a predator eating coral mucus, tissue, even skeleton of a coral. Here a corallivorous deep-sea sea star Evoplosoma eats live coral at a depth of 2004m on a previously unexplored ABNJ seamount (Area Beyond National Jurisdiction). Source: SchmidtOcean.org
These communities of are interest for further biodiversity exploration using all available analytical methods on this expedition.
Diverse deep-sea coral communities observed on a seamount to the north of the Howland and Baker unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM). These communities of are interest for further biodiversity exploration using all available analytical methods on this expedition. Source: SchmidtOcean.org

The Schmidt Ocean Institute

The Schmidt Ocean Institute was established in 2009 by Eric and Wendy Schmidt to advance oceanographic research through the development of innovative technologies, open sharing of information, and broad communication about ocean health. It operates Falkor, a philanthropic research vessel that is made available to the international science community at no cost. For more information, visit www.schmidtocean.org Or follow them on Instagram

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