On-board Diary: Emile Baudot, day two. These seamounts never cease to surprise us.

Author: Silvia García
Date: August 9, 2010



This is the last available day for taking samples from this seamount. Therefore, we have taken pains to get as many hours of filming as we could. We have worked in areas more than 500 m deep with muddy bottoms colonized by interesting species like on a shallower part, only 150 m deep where we knew we would run across a huge variety of gorgonians.

 

Muddy seabeds 500 m deep: invertebrates such as Grypus vitreus, Plesionika sp., Nephrops norvegicus, that is, brachiopods, prawns and Norway lobster among a long list of other species. Rocky seabeds 150 m below: Muriceides lepida, Villogorgia bebrycoides, Callogorgia verticilata or Viminella flagellum, in other words, gorgonians and more gorgonians, among numerous other species. But the star of the day, hands down, among so many species, has undoubtedly been a little critter that may even strike some as ugly. But for us to see it live has turned out to be the highlight of our day: the swimming sea cucumber. This small invertebrate has delighted us with a natural grace for swimming about that is quite uncommon, at least among sea cucumbers. What is expected from a sea cucumber or any echinoderm is for it to calmly “creep” along the bottom, but not this one. This critter is a genuine dancer that, through rhythmic movements of its little body, is able to rise from the bottom and swim swiftly. I never imagined that sea cucumbers would have a funny side to them!