Scientists aboard the ocean-exploring ship the E/V Nautilus have been prowling the ocean for wonders since 2008, literally just exploring the seas.
So after spotting a sperm whale, a googly-eyed squid, and a host of other wonders, you’d think they may be jaded. It turns out they are not. Case in point: their reactions to finding a vampire squid and a Deepstaria jelly on a recent journey around the Revillagigedo Archipelago, a series of islands about 375 miles off Mexico’s Pacific coast.
They brought back video captured from a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), including hosting an impromptu laser light show on the jelly (Pink Floyd soundtrack not included). According to the E/V Nautilus YouTube page, this is the first ROV footage ever captured around the Revillagigedo Archipelago.
“This is the most relaxing thing I’ve ever watched,” one of the scientists on board the E/V Nautilus says while watching the jelly undulate as the ROV’s thrusters give it a little push.
I’d have to agree.
Deepstaria jellies typically occupy cold waters around the Arctic and Antarctic, making their appearance here, even in the cold depths of the tropical Pacific, somewhat of a mystery.
The jellies just ride the currents, waiting for hapless shrimp or small fish to meander into their interior. Once inside, they’re devoured. The striking patterns on the jellies’ bodies are actually part of that process.
“Capturing prey in its voluminous bell, a strikingly geometric network of canals delivers nutrients throughout this large jelly’s body,” the scientists write on YouTube.
Scientists also found the vampire squid about a mile underwater. Its full name translated from Latin is actually “vampire squid from hell,” which makes it the most bad ass of all sea creatures.
Despite the terrifying name, the squid doesn’t actually feed on live animals or do much blood sucking. It lives on marine snow, which is dead plankton and poop. So maybe not as bad ass as it seems on second blush.
In addition to chronicling these undersea oddities, researchers aboard the E/V Nautilus have also found a coral garden and analyzed deep sea vents at the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The ship is part of the Ocean Exploration Trust, a group founded by Robert Ballard—the guy who discovered the Titanic—in 2008. This is the third year the ship has prowled unexplored the eastern Pacific both for science and to raise awareness about the state of the seas. The 2017 adventure started off the coast of British Columbia in June and wrapped at the Revillagigedo Archipelago this week because apparently scientists wanted to save the best spot to explore for last.