June 13, 2015 · Uncategorized

As with all of my images posted here, they are for your enjoyment and are not public domain, all are copyrighted.  Please do not copy, download, post online, or reuse in any fashion the photographs that I have posted without express written permission to do so.  Any use of my images must be approved in writing.  To access the images I have posted, you must click on the subject heading link above.  By doing so, your action serves as legal recognition of my stated copyright restrictions; it signifies your willingness to use the images only after written permission is provided, and it acknowledges that failure to follow the rules is a violation of international copyright law.  Thank you for your cooperation.

Mission Statement for this NOAA funded project:  The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (DWHOS) was primarily a deep-pelagic (water column depths below 200 m) event. Variable amounts of discharged hydrocarbons and dispersant reached the ocean surface and/or seafloor, whereas 100% occurred within the water column, with a massive plume observed within the deep-pelagic realm (centered at ~1100 m). The deep-pelagic habitat is by far the largest affected by the DWHOS. Unfortunately the paucity of information about deep-ocean ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) limits our ability to assess and predict the magnitude and consequences of changes to food webs and overall ecosystem structure. The likelihood of future spills, given the steady growth of oil exploration and operations, emphasizes the need to document acute and chronic effects on pelagic fauna.

Understanding the pelagic ecosystem is important. Of the ~1500 species of fishes that occur in the GoM, about half spend all or part of their lives in the open-ocean. Deep-pelagic fishes constitute the majority of fish biomass on Earth. Most mesopelagic (200-1000 m depth) species of fishes, as well as cephalopods and crustaceans, vertically migrate each night to feed in epipelagic (0-200 m) depths and return to deep water during the day. This behavior affects rapid cycling of natural and anthropogenic material in the water column. Deep-pelagic nekton (fishes, shrimps and squids, collectively) also serve as prey for shallow-living game fishes, seabirds, and marine mammals. We must therefore develop the knowledge base required to estimate deep-pelagic vulnerability to impacts and recovery after disturbance, and we must develop means for valuation of deep-ocean ecosystem services.

DEEPEND (Deep-Pelagic Nekton Dynamics) will investigate deep-pelagic communities on short-term (sub-generational) and long-term (evolutionary) timescales to appraise extant recovery and potential future recovery of these communities, using a suite of integrated approaches. These approaches include: 1) a direct assessment of GoM deep-pelagic community structure, with simultaneous investigation of the physical and biological (including microbial) drivers of this structure, in order to document biodiversity and ‘natural’ variability; 2) a time-series, ‘hindcast,’ comparison of biophysical data from 2015- 2017 (DEEPEND sampling) to 2010-2011 DWHOS data; 3) an examination  of differences in genetic diversity among key species; and 4) an assessment of the extant and potential future consequences of the DWHOS on the shallow and deep-pelagic biota.

The DEEPEND Consortium will conduct a 3-year sampling and analysis program that builds on the synergy developed during two intensive NOAA NRDA programs (ONSAP and DAP; 2010-11), as well as adding several new dimensions. In lieu of intervention for restoration in the classic sense, which is impractical in the deep pelagial, DEEPEND proposes expansion of knowledge as a restoration tool. DEEPEND has four major research objectives:
1) Define community structure, abundance, and distribution of deep water column fauna;
2) Document biophysical drivers of ecosystem structure;
3) Determine genetic diversity among representative pelagic taxa;
4) Predict potential consequences of the DWHOS on the GoM pelagic fauna and microbial flora.

An integrated outreach program will disseminate DEEPEND consortium activities to scientific, educational, and public sectors.

Here are images from our first research cruise in May, 2015:

The RV Point Sur - home while we are at sea

The RV Point Sur - home while we are at sea

My own personal photography lab on the front of the ship...

My own personal photography lab on the front of the ship...

Preparing the nets before the cruise

Preparing the nets before the cruise

Oiling he winch cable that lets the nets out and then brings them back up to the surface

Oiling the winch cable that lets the nets out and then brings them back up to the surface

Setting up the mocness - the net system used on these cruises.  The net is actually a series of nets that can be opened and closed at various depths all electronically.

Setting up the mocness - the net system used on these cruises. The net is actually a series of nets that can be opened and closed at various depths, all electronically.

Once the net hits the surace, taxonomic exprts sort the catch

Once the net hits the surface, taxonomic experts sort the catch

Specimens ae ID'd

Specimens are ID'd

Spcmens are cataloged

Specimens are cataloged

DNA samples are collected

DNA samples are collected

Lots of interest in the crazy life that comes up from the depths

Lots of interest in the crazy life that comes up from the depths

The Fangtooth (Anoplogaster cornuta)

The Fangtooth (Anoplogaster cornuta)

Anoplogaster cornuta

Anoplogaster cornuta

A Dragonfish (Astronesthes gemmifer)

A Dragonfish (Astronesthes gemmifer)

Astronesthes gemmifer

Astronesthes gemmifer

The barbel and lure of Astronesthes gemmifer

The barbel and lure of Astronesthes gemmifer

Threadfin Dragonfish (Echiostoma barbatum)

Threadfin Dragonfish (Echiostoma barbatum)

Threadfin Dragonfish (Echiostoma barbatum)

Threadfin Dragonfish (Echiostoma barbatum)

Threadfin Dragonfish (Echiostoma barbatum)

Threadfin Dragonfish (Echiostoma barbatum)

Threadfin Dragonfish (Echiostoma barbatum)

Threadfin Dragonfish (Echiostoma barbatum)

Photophore detail on the Threadfin Dragonfish (Echiostoma barbatum)

Photophore detail on the Threadfin Dragonfish (Echiostoma barbatum)

Photophors on the Threadfin Dragonfish (Echiostoma barbatum)

Photophors on the Threadfin Dragonfish (Echiostoma barbatum)

The barbel and lure of the Threadfin Dragonfish (Echiostoma barbatum)

The barbel and lure of the Threadfin Dragonfish (Echiostoma barbatum)

Johnson’s Abyssal Seadevil, Melanocetus johnsonii

Johnson’s Abyssal Seadevil, Melanocetus johnsonii

Johnson’s Abyssal Seadevil, Melanocetus johnsonii

Johnson’s Abyssal Seadevil, Melanocetus johnsonii

Johnson’s Abyssal Seadevil, Melanocetus johnsonii

Johnson’s Abyssal Seadevil, Melanocetus johnsonii

Juvenile Melanocetus anglerfish

Juvenile Melanocetus anglerfish

Male Anglerfish-Melanocetus sp.

Male Anglerfish-Melanocetus sp.

Male Linophryne anglerfsh

Male Linophryne anglerfsh

Linophryne anglerfish larvae

Linophryne anglerfish larvae

Triplewart Sea Devil, Cryptopsaras couesii

Triplewart Sea Devil, Cryptopsaras couesii

Antennariid anglerfish larvae

Antennariid anglerfish larvae

Batfish

Batfish

Waryfish, Scopelosaurus smithii

Waryfish, Scopelosaurus smithii

Atlantic Sabretooth, Coccorella atlantica

Atlantic Sabretooth, Coccorella atlantica

Lampfish, Diaphus mollis

Lampfish, Diaphus mollis

Tube Shoulder, Platytroctes apus

Tube Shoulder, Platytroctes apus

Red Mouth Whalefish, Rondeletia bicolor

Red Mouth Whalefish, Rondeletia bicolor

Leptocephalus, Nettenchelys pygmaea

Leptocephalus, Nettenchelys pygmaea

Leptocephalus, Xenomystax congroides

Leptocephalus, Xenomystax congroides

Larval Deepwater Flatfish, Monolene sessilicauda

Larval Deepwater Flatfish, Monolene sessilicauda

Larval flatfish, Poecillopsetta beani

Larval flatfish, Poecillopsetta beanii

Nemertean Worm, Bathynemertes sp.

Nemertean Worm, Bathynemertes sp.

Blind Lobster Larvae, Stereomastis sp.

Blind Lobster Larvae, Stereomastis sp.

Crab Zoea

Crab Zoea

Giant Seed Shrimp, Gigantocypris sp.

Giant Seed Shrimp, Gigantocypris sp.

Heteropod, Carinaria lamarcki

Heteropod, Carinaria lamarcki

Larval Prawn, Plesiopenaeus armatus

Larval Prawn, Plesiopenaeus armatus

Deep Sea Shrimp, Notostomus gibbosus

Deep Sea Shrimp, Notostomus gibbosus

Deep Sea Shrimp, Systellaspis debilis

Deep Sea Shrimp, Systellaspis debilis

Deep Sea Shrimp, Systellaspis debilis

Deep Sea Shrimp, Systellaspis debilis

Deep Sea Shrimp, Oplophorus gracilirostris, and glowing defensive secretions

Deep Sea Shrimp, Oplophorus gracilirostris, and glowing defensive secretions

Cone-headed Amphipod, Streetsia sp.

Cone-headed Amphipod, Streetsia sp.

Amphipod, Oxycephalus sp.

Amphipod, Oxycephalus sp.

Polychete worm

Polychete worm

Glass Squid, Cranchia scabra

Glass Squid, Cranchia scabra

Cockeyed Squid, Histoteuthis corona

Cockeyed Squid, Histoteuthis corona

Cockeyed Squid, Histoteuthis corona

Cockeyed Squid, Histoteuthis corona

Unidentified Cranchiid Squid

Unidentified Cranchiid Squid

Atlantic Mimic Octopus, Macrotritopus defillipi

Atlantic Mimic Octopus, Macrotritopus defillipi

Siphonophore

Siphonophore

Comb Jelly, Beroe sp.

Comb Jelly, Beroe sp.

Written by Dante


2 comments on “DEEPEND work on the Gulf of Mexico, May 2015”

  1. Dr. Tom:

    Aloha Dante:

    As you know meso- and bathy-pelagic fish and other critters are almost my favorite group of organisms. How about a picture of the inside of your deck photolab and modes of photography?

    Will I see you at the NSS convention? I will present Eleonora her Award at the banquet. Liz is coming too.

    Ciao, Tom


  2. Henry Robison:

    Dante you are amazing my friend! These are absolutely fantastic images of a fauna I would never be able to see, yet I can vicariously visit the deep sea area of the Gulf of Mexico through your beautiful photos of this poorly known fauna. I second Dr. Tom’s request for a photo of your photographic lab setup and some discussion of your photographic techniques!

    Great job my friend! I have been working too hard on Second edition of Fishes of Arkansas that I just about forgot your blog until tonight! Keep up your wonderful work Dante!


Post a comment