Surprising Beauty Discovered on Pacific Seafloor
By LiveScience Staff
26 June 2006
07:02 pm ET
“When you think of bright coral and colorful fish, you might conjure images of Hawaii or the Caribbean. If so, a newfound bed of deep-sea corals and other animal life found off the coast of Washington state will likely surprise you.
Researchers said an earlier survey had led them to suspect they might find a rich, unexplored ecosystem in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Today the NOAA-led project released several photographs returned by a remotely operated vehicle from 300 to 2,000 feet down. Among the most dramatic:
- A red gorgonian coral branch supporting attachments of a whitish basket star, crinoids and several shark egg cases.
- A brightly-colored sharpchin rockfish, possibly pregnant, resting next to a gorgonian soft coral tentatively identified as a Paragorgia species.
- An incredibly delicate-looking, lone gorgonian soft coral tentatively identified as an Umbellula species.
- Bright orange rosethorn and redbanded rockfish adjacent to the reef-building coral Lophelia pertusa and a giant cup coral.”